Sweet Lamb of Heaven by Lydia Millet
Anna is mother to 6 year old Lena. They live in a small motel in Maine, in hiding from Anna’s husband, Ned. Ned is a handsome and magnetic man. He’s also humorless, cold, indifferent and a major philanderer. He didn’t want their daughter and he’s never shown an iota of interest in the marriage or their daughter, until he decided on a new career in politics. Now he won’t stop pursuing them because he wants his picture perfect family in place for his campaign.
Anna, what can I say about Anna. She is a very troubled woman. She stays in an unhappy marriage, bears a child and continues to be ignored for 4 long years before she finally decides to leave. Too weak and docile to just ask her husband for a divorce, she goes into hiding with her daughter. On top of that, the first year of her daughter’s life she was hearing a mysterious voice, making her question her sanity.
Spattered throughout the book are entries from Wikipedia and other research that Anna has done in trying to figure out the mysterious voice she used to hear. Her theories have run the gamut from explorations of language, consciousness, perception and psychosis to reincarnation, but she has never come to a solid conclusion.
While the story of Anna and Lena in hiding kept me reading to the end to find out what happened, I didn’t find the story very plausible. I kept wondering why Anna didn’t take some action against Ned He wasn’t physically abusive. Sweet Lamb of Heaven is a mixture of psychological thriller and the divine? I guess…maybe…that seems to be the outcome here. I may have missed some complex meaning here, I’m not sure. All in all, I found the ending to be very anticlimactic.
I want to thank the publisher (W. W. Norton & Company) for providing me with the ARC through Netgalley for an honest review.