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Friday, September 10, 2004 - Page updated at 12:00 A.M.
By Valerie Ryan
This time, Griff tells her mother, "You promised. You promised after the next time it happened we'd go. That's what you said."
"An Unfinished Life" (Knopf, 257 pp., $23) is the story of one going-nowhere woman with bad judgment trying to save her life and make a better life for her daughter. Novelist Mark Spragg has brought to life four people: Jean, Griff, Einar, who is Jean's former father-in-law, and Mitch, old friend and Korean war buddy of Einar's, now crippled as the result of a bear attack.
The quartet thrown together by circumstance tries warily to work out a way of staying together, by fits and starts. Griff is at the heart of everything good that happens between and among the four, but as long as Jean remains an outsider, Griff knows that she is on shaky ground. Any day her mother might take off for another man, another trailer, another beating. Roy's reappearance serves as the catalyst which offers the promise of reconciliation and a real homecoming.
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