Standing Still/Kelly Simmons: Reflections

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Kelly Simmons wastes no time in her fast-paced, high-impact first novel, Standing Still.  Readers of this blog know how much I loved the author's second novel, The Bird House.  It was only a matter of time (or finding the time) before I wound my way toward this story about a mother of three who, within the opening pages, discovers a kidnapper in her daughter's bedroom and begs him to take her instead.

He agrees.

Over the course of the next week, much of it spent in a motel room, Claire and the kidnapper live a strange and at times strangely beautiful life.  Or, at least, an increasingly honest life, as the motivation for the kidnapping becomes ever clearer, and ever more hallowing.  Claire is a woman who suffers from acute panic disorder.  She is a woman not entirely certain that she is loved by the man who must summon millions of dollars to set her free.  She is a woman bearing the burden of a heartbreaking past.

It is Simmons's remarkable talent for layering the high suspense of the kidnap within a rich exploration of intimate wounds and maternal secrets that wholly distinguishes this novel. It is the clarity and precision, humor and surprise embedded within the language that kept me reading this novel late into last night, when I myself was in a foreign room (though in the very good company of my husband). Lately (after reading The Bird House) I have had the chance to discover that Kelly Simmons, in person, is as extraordinary as she is on the page—smart, careful, genuine, very funny (absolutely), complex, and searching. The real deal, in other words, and I cannot wait to read whatever else Ms. Simmons now has brewing.


Serena said...

this sounds wonderful.

KFP said...

I am halfway through The Bird House by Kelly Simmons. It's wonderful.

Lilian Nattel said...

It sounds fascinating--and unusual.

Marc said...

I'm a big fan of Kelly's work, and Standing Still is, indeed, a thrill.

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