In Denmark, Professor Anders Larsen, an urbane man of facts, has lost his wife and his hopes for the future. On an isolated English farm, Tina Hopgood is trapped in a life she doesn’t remember choosing. Both believe their love stories are over.
Brought together by a shared fascination with the Tollund Man, subject of Seamus Heaney’s famous poem, they begin writing letters to one another. And from their vastly different worlds, they find they have more in common than they could have imagined. As they open up to one another about their lives, an unexpected friendship blooms. But then Tina’s letters stop coming, and Anders is thrown into despair. How far are they willing to go to write a new story for themselves?
Beyond their murky shared history, they are both aware they can use each other to free themselves from deeper pasts. Vita is processing the shameful inheritance of her birthplace, and making sense of the disappearance of her beloved. Royce is haunted by memories of the untimely death of his first love, an archaeologist who worked in the Garden of the Fugitives in Pompeii. Between what’s been repressed and what has been disguised are disturbances that reach back through decades, even centuries. But not everything from the past is precious: each gorgeous age is built around a core of rottenness.
Profoundly addictive and unsettling, In the Garden of the Fugitives is a masterful novel of duplicity and counterplay, as brilliantly illuminating as it is surprising—about the obscure workings of guilt in the human psyche, the compulsion to create and control, and the dangerous morphing of desire into obsession.
"We could be like two people who inject themselves with truth serum, and at long last have to tell it--the truth. I want to be able to say to myself, 'I bled truth with her,' yes, that's what I want. Be a knife for me, and I, I swear, will be a knife for you."
An awkward, neurotic seller of rare books writes a desperate letter to a beautiful stranger whom he sees at a class reunion. This simple, lonely attempt at seduction begins a love affair of words between Yair and Miriam, two married, middle-aged adults, dissatisfied with their lives, yearning for the connection that has always eluded them--and, eventually, reawakened to feelings that they thought had passed them by. Their correspondence unfolds into an exchange of their most naked confessions: of desire, childhood tragedies, joys, and humiliations.
Through the dialogue between Yair--a family man and surprisingly successful adulterer, whose complex, guarded letters reveal a life of secrets kept from the people closest to him--and Miriam, at first deceptively open and warm, who fills her life with distraction to avoid a past full of painful secrets, Be My Knife explores the nature and the limits of intimacy.
A deep departure from David Grossman's previous work, Be My Knife is his subtlest, most passionate novel yet.
In Katharine Weber's third novel, The Little Women, three adolescent sisters--Meg, Jo and Amy--are shocked when they discover their mother's affair, but are truly devastated by their father's apparently easy forgiveness of her. Shattered by their parents' failure to live up to the moral standards and values of the family, the two younger sisters leave New York (and their private school) and move to Meg's apartment in New Haven, where Meg is a junior at Yale. They enroll in the local inner-city public high school, and, divorced from their parents, they try to make a life with Meg as their surrogate mother.
Written in the form of an autobiographical novel by Joanna, the middle sister, the pages of The Little Women are punctuated by comments from the "real" Meg and Amy. Their notes and Jo's replies form a second narrative, as they argue about the "truth" of the novel.
Why do readers insist on searching for the autobiographical elements of fiction? When does a novelist go too far in mulching actual experience for a novel? What rights, if any, does a writer have to grant the people in her life and story?
An ingenious combination of classic storytelling in a contemporary mode, The Little Women confirms Katharine Weber's reputation as a writer who "astutely explores the gap between perception and reality." (The New York Times Book Review)
Last Days of Summer is the story of Joey Margolis, neighborhood punching bag, growing up goofy and mostly fatherless in Brooklyn in the early 1940s. A boy looking for a hero, Joey decides to latch on to Charlie Banks, the all-star third basemen for the New York Giants. But Joey's chosen champion doesn't exactly welcome the extreme attention of a persistent young fan with an overactive imagination. Then again, this strange, needy kid might be exactly what Banks needs.