As I mentioned yesterday, I first heard of Ann Packer a couple of weeks ago on NPR. She was being interviewed about her newest book, Songs Without Words. Since I’m too cheap right now to go out and buy her new book, I instead added it to my wish list on PaperbackSwap.com and then ordered one of her older novels, The Dive From Clausen’s Pier.
As the title might suggest, a diving accident is the beginning plot element around which the rest of the novel is written. Packer gives us a cast of characters that are well developed and believable. As I was reading The Dive From Clausen’s Pier, the characters became almost more real to me than those around me in real life. I cared about how they were reacting to the events in their lives, worried about the directions in which they were headed, was saddened by changes in their life-long friendships, and rooted for them to find their way back to some sense of normalcy and acceptance.
Best of all, Packer gave an ending that was believable and not all neatly tidied up. I usually like nice neat endings, but Packer wrote an ending that was not what I expected, having the main character make a choice that seemed almost disappointing in the short run, but infinitely more realistic. Based upon my enjoyment of The Dive From Clausen’s Pier, I am eagerly awaiting Songs Without Words. I look forward to richly developed characters and believable situations in which the characters must work through to some new self-awareness.