Michael Kimball’s The Way the Family Got Away is a wonderful book, one I fear has fallen through the cracks. It came out about a decade ago, and I thought it was time to give it some more shine. Here’s an excerpt from my review:
As readers, we often hope that the lover will return, that the reward will come, that the treasure will be found, that there will be respite, that everything will come together in the end. The Way the Family Got Away offers no such easy answers, nor any evidence of the resilience of family to overcome any obstacle, recover from any tragedy. In this short but weighty novel, Kimball offers just what the title says: this is the way the family got away. From town to town, they get farther from where they were but no closer to restoring what they had lost. They are a nameless family, a family in name only, running from their pain only to find it seeping out of them, stinking like so much stagnant water. Though the boy says, “A family needs people in it to keep going or it stops being a family,” what makes a family a family is what these children are forced to figure out for themselves since their mother and father—reduced to husks—shoulder their own guilt, simply slogging ahead to get their children to some kind of safety.