A Narrow Time

Title: A Narrow Time
Published by: Random House (Vintage)
Release Date: 1987
Pages: 227
ISBN13: 978-0394755687
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This is the story of Anne Fossicker, a woman whose youngest daughter disappears. It began as one mother’s account of her attempts to get the right ending, the happy ending for her life story as a wife and mother of three. Then the narrator’s six-year-old daughter, Sarah, goes missing, and Anne discovers that the world is “a strange, truly remarkable place.”

And that’s when this novel turned into a genuine mystery. As I reached the midway point in writing the book, I realized that I was in the same position as Anne, the mother of the lost child. I didn’t know where Sarah was or how she had disappeared.

Read an excerpt


“A remarkable novel . . . Downing renders his narrator’s feelings and actions so skillfully that each sentence seems at once surprising and completely true . . . Michael Downing’s debut novel, with its believable and likable characters plunged into a horrible situation, sustains an almost exhausting tension. A Narrow Time has the emotional precision of the best fiction and the satisfying resolution of a detective story.”
—New York Times Book Review

“The author of this impressive first novel not only successfully writes from a woman's point of view but also tells a thoroughly engrossing story about emotional upheaval in a middle-class family . . . Downing has created a shattering study of relationships told in an extraordinary voice. This is a superior portrait of human suffering and pain.”
—Publishers Weekly

“Downing displays powers of imaginative sympathy than any first novelist might envy.”
Boston Globe

“Downing touches some of the most profound issues of life, and his story zips along. He hauls our nightmares out of the dark, makes them walk about, and makes us all look at them.”
—St. Louis Post-Dispatch

“A novel of great power and wisdom. Michael Downing knows about the undertow of family life—the secrets, lies, and nostalgia for things that never were.”
—Susanna Kaysen, author of Girl, Interrupted

“A tour de force! Michael Downing is a he? I never thought he was anything but female, so convincing is his fictional voice. How well he gets into the mind of the narrator of this remarkably well-written book. An astounding accomplishment!”
—Susan Kenney, author of Sailing and In Another Country