Life changes in an instant. On a foggy beach. In the seconds when Abby Mason—photographer, fiancée soon-to-be-stepmother—looks into her camera and commits her greatest error. Heartbreaking, uplifting, and beautifully told, here is the riveting tale of a family torn apart, of the search for the truth behind a child’s disappearance, and of one woman’s unwavering faith in the redemptive power of love—all made startlingly fresh through Michelle Richmond’s incandescent sensitivity and extraordinary insight.
Six-year-old Emma vanished into the thick San Francisco fog. Or into the heaving Pacific. Or somewhere just beyond: to a parking lot, a stranger’s van, or a road with traffic flashing by. Devastated by guilt, haunted by her fears about becoming a stepmother, Abby refuses to believe that Emma is dead. And so she searches for clues about what happened that morning—and cannot stop the flood of memories reaching from her own childhood to illuminate that irreversible moment on the beach.
Now, as the days drag into weeks, as the police lose interest and fliers fade on telephone poles, Emma’s father finds solace in religion and scientific probability—but Abby can only wander the beaches and city streets, attempting to recover the past and the little girl she lost. With her life at a crossroads, she will leave San Francisco for a country thousands of miles away. And there, by the side of another sea, on a journey that has led her to another man and into a strange subculture of wanderers and surfers, Abby will make the most astounding discovery of all—as the truth of Emma’s disappearance unravels with stunning force.
A profoundly original novel of family, loss, and hope—of the choices we make and the choices made for us—The Year of Fog beguiles with the mysteries of time and memory even as it lays bare the deep and wondrous workings of the human heart. The result is a mesmerizing tour de force that will touch anyone who knows what it means to love a child.
Michelle Richmond is the author of The Year of Fog, Dream of the Blue Room, and The Girl in the Fall-Away Dress. Her stories and essays have appeared in Glimmer Train, Playboy, The Oxford American, and elsewhere. She has been a James Michener Fellow, and her fiction has received the Associated Writing Programs Award and the Mississippi Review Prize. A native of Mobile, Alabama, Michelle lives with her husband and son in San Francisco, where she is at work on her next novel.
“The Year of Fog is impossible to stop reading. Even as I savored Michelle Richmond's rich prose and fascinating passages on photography and the nature of memory, I couldn't turn the pages fast enough. A missing child, a haunting neighborhood, a search for love...The Year of Fog has it all. Make a sandwich now: you won't stop reading for hours.”—Amanda Eyre Ward, author of How to Be Lost
“What a wonderful novel! The lush prose kept me turning pages as surely as the compelling plot did. Suspenseful, richly imagined, and ultimately hopeful, The Year of Fog is a keeper. Michelle Richmond is a talent to watch.”—Joshilyn Jackson, author of Gods in Alabama and Between, Georgia
“A child’s disappearance is at the heart of this riveting read that follows photographer, fiancée and soon-to-be-stepmother Abby Mason. Once the drama starts, prepare to race to the last page.” —Hallmark magazine (“New Book We Love)
“Involving, heartrending and immediately readable.” —San Francisco Examiner
"Captivating.” —Family Circle
“GRADE: A.” —Washington Post
“The best new novel of the summer.” —Mobile Register