Roxana Robinson’s Cost artfully portrays a family transformed by the far-reaching consequences of a son’s heroin addiction.
In Cost, Robinson tackles addiction and explores its subtle effects on the bonds of family, dazzling us with her subtlety and precision in evoking the emotional interiors of her characters. The result is a work in which the reader’s sense of discovery and compassion for every character remain unflagging to the end, even as the reader, like the characters, is caught up in Cost‘s pace.
Cost is both lyrical and unsentimental, richly honest and humane—summer reading of uncommon stature.
Cost is stunning. Each of the characters is so perfectly realized, each is made known to us with such heart and intelligence. This is a very big book: the territory of family is more fragile and dangerous than any geography we know, and Roxana Robinson has made life of that. I loved, admired, and was frankly undone by every minute of it.
Cost is an important, timely book that furthers insight into our present fortunes and dilemmas.
“With passion, feeling, and a keen eye for detail, Roxana Robinson brings chillingly to life a family and a family tragedy, showing us how—like a luminous yet ominous landscape—their tangible visible world can coincide with the invisible tumultuous world of their emotions.”
Robinson’s vivid, sensuous prose moves effortlessly among relationships and points of view, evoking a brutal war between familial love—in its infinite power and mystery—and the mechanical devastations of pathology.
This is simply one of the most heart-wrenching and powerful novels I have ever read.
Robinson has always been a sensitive and revelatory writer, but she attains new degrees of intensity here in her scorching depictions of the nightmare world of addiction.
If heroin is what gives this novel its rush, Robinson’s sensitivity to family relations is what makes it so compelling.
The author of Sweetwater (2003) and several short-story collections, Robinson subtly conflates nature and human concerns as a crisis brings estranged family members together at Julia’s weathered home on the coast of Maine.
Cost is unusual for being as plot-driven as it is character-driven, and the assured manner in which Robinson builds toward the inevitable train wreck is matched by her acuity in bringing us inside the characters’ minds….