When a massive explosion destroys an American office building and images of innocent civilians dead or maimed hit the news channels, accusations and conspiracy theories—about Arabs, Jews, Christians, the FBI, the government—start flying. Breaking and Entering depicts an America divided by religion, sexuality, and fear, its coasts and heartlands talking at, not to, each other. It’s 1995: Timothy McVeigh has just bombed the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, and Louise Shapiro, a school counselor who has recently moved from California to Michigan with her husband Richard and their daughter Molly, is trying to settle into a town where her neighbors believe the government to be the enemy and her students consider homosexuality the work of Satan. Breaking and Entering brings a range of wonderful characters to life, telling with warmth their trials with accidental forest fires, mixed-religion marriages, and running away from home.
“An exploration of Tolstoy’s dictum about unhappy families…. A rich and satisfying novel that explores in a significant way contemporary issues of family, religion and politics.” —Kirkus Reviews
“A compassionate, humorous new novel about the ambiguities of modern life. After his patient commits suicide, a shattered Richard Shapiro and his wife, Louise, both therapists, move from upscale, liberal Marin County, California, to a rural Michigan village in 1995. But so much for the great escape: Louise takes up with a magnetic married minister, and Richard befriends members of the local militia, which has ties to the Oklahoma City bomber. Set against the backdrop of a divided America, Breaking and Entering by Eileen Pollack is a novel laced with compassion, humor and wisdom about the ambiguities of modern life.” —Lynn Schnurnberger, More Magazine
“Louise Shapiro is thoroughly beset in this thorny, lucid novel. Her bad luck begins in California, where her husband abandons his psychology practice and takes a job in a rural Michigan prison. Louise struggles to adjust to the heartland, which seems overpopulated with religious nuts and militia members. Her husband drifts away into a rebellious, gun-toting fugue, and the lover she takes becomes remote in his own way…. Her increasingly nuanced view of the sociopolitical divide is reflected in Pollack’s sensitive portrayals of both liberal Louise and her ilk, and their conservative counterparts. Weaving the personal with the political, Pollack… creates an encompassing haze of dissatisfaction and misdirected passion. Despite the unrelenting misfortune, though, the tone is more solemn than dark; there’s a beautiful contemplativeness, and a believable sense of redemption in the end.” —Publisher’s Weekly
“Eileen Pollack takes on the taboos and mores of Middle America—religious, ethnic, sexual, political—with boldness, wit and ultimately a surprising and serious sympathy.” — Peter Ho Davies
“A very real accomplishment—an admirable, serious, and important novel of ideas that does not neglect characters.” —Antonya Nelson
“A big, provocative novel that sets an intimate story about a passionate affair against a troubling backdrop of right-wing violence and extremism. Eileen Pollack is a brave writer, plunging without fear into the murky waters of sex, religion, and politics.” —Tom Perrotta