As its title suggests, this is a divided book. It falls into two halves. Each half contains another to be divided, and these contain further halves, and so on. Anna, the primary narrator, also informs us that divisadero ‘might derive from the word divisar, meaning “to gaze from a distance”’, and the reader’s sense of the author’s distance from his narratives will govern their response to his novel.
The first story is set in Northern California and concerns Anna, her foster-sister Claire (orphaned at birth) and Coop, the farmhand who was taken in by the girls’ father (a widower) when he was four, after his family was ‘killed by a hired hand who beat them to death with