Cirak's Daughter Summary
Cirak's Daughter deals with many basic human issues, including the search for identity, family relationships, the nature of inheritance, the conflict of revenge and forgiveness, truth and lying, and the problem of mental illness. These significant themes are exemplified in an appealing and convincing cast of characters and explored through the plot device of a murder to be solved. The result is a suspenseful mystery story which entertains readers but also gives them much to think about as well as solving the crime.
The situation in which the nineteen-year-old protagonist finds herself is essentially a realistic and universal one. Young Jenny Cirak ventures into the past life of her father in order better to understand herself. Investigating the mystery of his death brings her into contact with a different lifestyle, that of a small New England town, and with a variety of people representing differing facets of familial loyalties and conflicts. Although the themes are profound, the touch is light, for the author writes with considerable humor and a lively, colloquial style. The inherently melodramatic event of a murder is never treated melodramatically but is dealt with through believable characters in a realistic setting and with casual, relaxed dialogue.