July 21, 2015
Bradstreet Gate, by Robin Kirman
Georgia, Charlie and Alice each arrive at Harvard with hopeful visions of what the future will hold. But when, just before graduation, a classmate is found murdered on campus, they find themselves facing a cruel and unanticipated new reality. Moreover, a charismatic professor who has loomed large in their lives is suspected of the crime. Though his guilt or innocence remains uncertain, the unsettling questions raised by the case force the three friends to take a deeper look at their tangled relationship. Their bond has been defined by the secrets they’ve kept from one another—Charlie’s love and Alice’s envy, Georgia’s mysterious affair—and over the course of the next decade, as they grapple with the challenges of adulthood and witness the unraveling of a teacher’s once-charmed life, they must reckon with their own deceits and shortcomings, each desperately in search of answers and the chance to be forgiven.
Bradstreet Gate was a difficult book to read. There was plenty of stuff happening, and the writing is excellent. The non-linear storytelling was nothing new, and this reading didn’t offer any new insights to the craft or of storytelling.
At times, the story seemed to drift aimlessly. The book really isn’t about the murder of Julie Patel, but a chronicling of several affluent Harvard graduates and how they deal with privilege and the many ways to squander their lives in only ten years.
The ending of the book left me wanting, and none of the many subplots were resolved. Now that I write about it, this entire book is all about various subplots.
Although the characters are well thought out, and implemented in a way that allows us to see them as real people, the story itself is uninteresting. Not enough for me to not finish, but enough for me to be glad the book has concluded.
I’d still give it three stars, as the characterization is worth the read. I received a copy from blogging for books in exchange for this review.
Robin Kirman earned a BA in philosophy from Yale College and an MFA in fiction from Columbia University, where she served as a writing instructor in the English department. Robin lives in New York City and Tel Aviv.