The Way the Family Got Away
Their family has suffered the loss of a baby and they all set out on a cross-country drive with the embalmed infant in the trunk of their car. They're heading from rural Texas to Michigan to get to "Bompa's" house. The children, through their childish perceptions (nurses are "angels" and such), try to make sense of love, loss and death. The family falls apart as the story moves along. The narrators alternate by chapter between the boy and the girl. He explains how the father and mother trade all that they own to get from small town to small town ("America gets emptier the farther away you go up into it," he says at one point). She has a family of dolls and is often confused about the difference between what's real and what's not, and after a while, you'll find yourself in the same shape. I know I was. It's a disturbing novel, a tough little read, but worthwhile.