4 out of 5: Brian Hall’s Fall of Frost is a fictional account of the life of Robert Frost, the beloved American poet. This is an impressionist painting of a novel: one hundred twenty-eight little chapters, all seemingly insignificant swirls and daubs of color, out of order and time, confusing and difficult to understand up close. But when viewed from a distance, these individual brushstrokes meld into an image that captures the nuanced essence of the object (in this case, Robert Frost) more truthfully, perhaps, than the hundreds of faithful reproductions that have come before. This is a novel of shadow and mystery and fuzzy edges, where the players appear more vegetal than human:
He married her for the flower that she was. She was even less worldly than he, even dreamier, a lily of the field, neither toiling nor spinning, only reading poetry, letting it gather on her like gold dust, a fructifying pollen carried on the wind.The figure of Frost, impossible to pin down entirely, appears to thrive in the mist Hall creates out of fragments of poetry, memories, and dreams. A challenging read but worth the effort.