From May to December
by Pat MacEnulty
Serpent’s Tail. 310 pages, $14.95 (paper)
WHILE THE PLOT of Pat MacEnulty’s latest novel does recount events chronologically over a six-month period from May to December, the title simply doesn’t do the book justice. The story is set in Tallahassee, Florida, in the year 2000 and covers the period preceding, during, and after that year’s contested presidential election. Thus the novel has built-in discord for a backdrop. I was hooked by the first sentence of the book—“I promised Lolly that I would write the story about my time in prison”—and what followed kept its promise and more.
Told in vignettes from multiple points of view, the narrative features four women, all defeated in some way, all struggling to play the cards that life has dealt them.