Friday, March 20, 2009

Review: A Cross Estate Highlights A Single Life Story Affected by 9/11 Tragedy

I told him to get out, to leave...” ~~~ “I can’t do that, Mom...I love you!” (p. 198)

It was a story about a family, much like many you’ve read. A young man is in love and is also deciding what career choice to make. At least that’s what I thought when I started to read A Cross Estate by William Thomas Kinsella.

In fact, the young man, the main character, is killed shortly after the second part of the book begins! On September 11, 2001...

When tragedy strikes, there is no way to really know what those who are involved are going through. However, Kinsella’s book strikes realism, a tone of truth that slowly pulls readers into the lives of those who have lost someone unexpectedly and senselessly. In this case, on 9/11. The story is sad and, in many parts, hard to read. You will see the bedroom of Jack Conroy, at his parents’ house, left as if he was away for just a while and was coming back to finish reading the magazine article lying on his bed. You will hear the frustration, anger and regret voiced by those close to Jack...

Jack Conroy had two career opportunities. He loved working outside and had taken a minor in landscape design while his major was in finance. His first job offer was to take a full-time job where he had worked summers, doing design work. His heart decision was to take that job. Not only would he be doing the work he loved to do, but also he would be able to stay with Veronica while she finished school, for she was the most important person in his life.

But his father was semi-retired from Wall Street and throughout his life Jack had been prepared to also work there. Indeed, his father had worked many years before he had gained a position and knew that his son was already better and more prepared to start work there immediately. So, when the chance came to interview for a position right after his graduation, Jack decided to at least go for the interview.

Once there, he was pleased by what he saw at the firm, and also that he was being favorably considered. He discussed his career issues with everybody who was important to him. Finally, knowing that he was young enough to work on Wall Street and still move into landscape work in not too many years, he accepted the offered position, just shortly before the firm moved to the Twin Towers.

Kinsella’s novel beautifully illustrates his writing expertise and his Master’s in English Literature. There is much to learn by studying the reactions of his true-to-life characters as they face their lives without the one person that had brought them all together...

Kinsella worked in Lower Manhattan during this tragedy. His writing reflects the horror both during and after a tragedy, all the more poignant by his sharing so much of the family life of “just one” that was lost. Highly recommended life story!

“He was a hometown boy. You probably saw him around town if you’ve lived here any length of time. He was an attractive young man who people wanted to be around. He loved to walk the sidewalks of this town growing up, and you never had to smile first when you saw him...Jack Conroy was the pure heart of America—the offshoot of our best roots and the flower of our American Dream.” (p. 145)

G. A. Bixler
for IP Book Reviews