Tinderbox: A Novel

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When you invite a stranger into your home, you never know who's really coming in . . .

Myra is a Manhattan psychotherapist. A quick study and an excellent judge of character, she thinks she knows what she's getting when she hires a nanny—it's her job, after all, to analyze people. Her phobia-addled son has just moved back in with his wife and child, and the new nanny, Eva, seems like a perfect addition: she cleans like a demon and irons like a dream, and she forms an immediate bond with Myra's grandson.
But as Eva, a Peruvian immigrant, reveals more of herself, what seemed a felicitous arrangement turns ominous. She racks the household with screams from a night terror. She spits in her hands to ward off evil spirits. Then, one afternoon, she settles into Myra's patient chair and begins to expose the secrets of her past. Their relationship slowly and inexorably becomes too close, too dependent, and, ultimately, terrifyingly destructive. As events spiral out of Myra's control, she learns that even a family as close-knit as her own can have plenty to hide.
In the rich tradition of Lionel Shriver, Jane Hamilton, and Anne Tyler, the psychoanalyst and novelist Lisa Gornick tells us a story about the tragedy of good intentions. Tinderbox spins a suspenseful mystery of hidden traumas. It's a searingly perceptive, deeply honest novel about families and secrets, and power, and love.
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About the author

Lisa Gornick is the author of A Private Sorcery, a novel. Her stories have appeared in Agni, Confrontation, The Massachusetts Review, Slice, and other journals; have received awards, including Best American Short Stories Distinguished Story of the year; and have been named a finalist in the Glimmer Train Fiction Open and a winner of the Summer Literary Seminars Unified Literary Contest. Her essays have been published in The Huffington Post, The Sun, and various psychoanalytic journals. She has a BS from Princeton, and a PhD in clinical psychology from Yale, and is a graduate of the writing program at New York University and the psychoanalytic training program at Columbia, where she is currently on the faculty.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Sarah Crichton Books
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Published on
Sep 10, 2013
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Pages
320
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ISBN
9780374710255
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Language
English
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Genres
Fiction / Family Life
Fiction / Literary
Fiction / Urban
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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A psychiatrist falls into a dangerous double life and his family must step up to save him in this “first-rate novel” by the author of Tinderbox (Colum McCann).
 
Saul Dubinsky has been arrested for trying to steal drugs from a hospital pharmacy. No one is sure how this shy, sensitive, and dedicated doctor fell from grace. There was a patient who had attempted suicide—but the roots of this downward spiral may go back far further, and now his loved ones are trying to figure out what went wrong.
 
Saul’s emotionally remote wife, Rena, must confront the failures of their marriage—and in the process, face her shame over her own past. Saul’s father, who long ago gave up his own psychiatric practice, blames himself for his son’s breakdown, and finds himself tormented by memories of a troubled patient—and his complicity in his family’s long-simmering problems.
 
As Rena and Leonard each grapple with the impact of Saul’s arrest, they are drawn closer together—and a delicate transformation begins to occur in each of them—in a profound novel in which “none of the characters is flawless, even those we most love; they can be self-absorbed, lustful, weak, or afraid of intimacy, both spiritual and physical. Yet they are human in all their complexity, and they are beautifully rendered” (Library Journal).
 
“Gornick’s beautifully constructed novel is an expert balance of humor and pathos that will leave readers anxious for her next work.” —Booklist
 
“A wonderfully honest book, deeply felt, with characters carved from the true stuff of what we are. A first-rate novel, all the more surprising since it is Gornick’s debut.” —Colum McCann, author of Let the Great World Spin
 
From “one of the most perceptive, compassionate writers of fiction in America...immensely talented and brave” (Michael Schaub, NPR), a historical saga about love, class, and the past we never escape.

The Peacock Feast opens on a June day in 1916 when Louis C. Tiffany, the eccentric glass genius, dynamites the breakwater at Laurelton Hall—his fantastical Oyster Bay mansion, with columns capped by brilliant ceramic blossoms and a smokestack hidden in a blue-banded minaret—so as to foil the town from reclaiming the beach for public use. The explosion shakes both the apple crate where Prudence, the daughter of Tiffany’s prized gardener, is sleeping and the rocks where Randall, her seven-year-old brother, is playing.

Nearly a century later, Prudence receives an unexpected visit at her New York apartment from Grace, a hospice nurse and the granddaughter of Randall, who Prudence never saw again after he left at age fourteen for California. The mementos Grace carries from her grandfather’s house stir Prudence’s long-repressed memories and bring her to a new understanding of the choices she made in work and love, and what she faces now in her final days.

Spanning the twentieth century and three continents, The Peacock Feast ricochets from Manhattan to San Francisco, from the decadent mansions of the Tiffany family to the death row of a Texas prison, and from the London consultation room of Anna Freud to a Mendocino commune. With psychological acuity and aching eloquence, Lisa Gornick has written a sweeping family drama, an exploration of the meaning of art and the art of dying, and an illuminating portrait of how our decisions reverberate across time and space.

NATIONAL BOOK AWARD WINNER • Colum McCann’s beloved novel inspired by Philippe Petit’s daring high-wire stunt, which is also depicted in the film The Walk starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt

In the dawning light of a late-summer morning, the people of lower Manhattan stand hushed, staring up in disbelief at the Twin Towers. It is August 1974, and a mysterious tightrope walker is running, dancing, leaping between the towers, suspended a quarter mile above the ground. In the streets below, a slew of ordinary lives become extraordinary in bestselling novelist Colum McCann’s stunningly intricate portrait of a city and its people.

Let the Great World Spin is the critically acclaimed author’s most ambitious novel yet: a dazzlingly rich vision of the pain, loveliness, mystery, and promise of New York City in the 1970s.

Corrigan, a radical young Irish monk, struggles with his own demons as he lives among the prostitutes in the middle of the burning Bronx. A group of mothers gather in a Park Avenue apartment to mourn their sons who died in Vietnam, only to discover just how much divides them even in grief. A young artist finds herself at the scene of a hit-and-run that sends her own life careening sideways. Tillie, a thirty-eight-year-old grandmother, turns tricks alongside her teenage daughter, determined not only to take care of her family but to prove her own worth. Elegantly weaving together these and other seemingly disparate lives, McCann’s powerful allegory comes alive in the unforgettable voices of the city’s people, unexpectedly drawn together by hope, beauty, and the “artistic crime of the century.”

A sweeping and radical social novel, Let the Great World Spin captures the spirit of America in a time of transition, extraordinary promise, and, in hindsight, heartbreaking innocence. Hailed as a “fiercely original talent” (San Francisco Chronicle), award-winning novelist McCann has delivered a triumphantly American masterpiece that awakens in us a sense of what the novel can achieve, confront, and even heal.

BONUS: This edition includes an excerpt from Colum McCann’s TransAtlantic.

“This is a gorgeous book, multilayered and deeply felt, and it’s a damned lot of fun to read, too. Leave it to an Irishman to write one of the greatest-ever novels about New York. There’s so much passion and humor and pure lifeforce on every page of Let the Great World Spin that you’ll find yourself giddy, dizzy, overwhelmed.”—Dave Eggers

“Stunning . . . [an] elegiac glimpse of hope . . . It’s a novel rooted firmly in time and place. It vividly captures New York at its worst and best. But it transcends all that. In the end, it’s a novel about families—the ones we’re born into and the ones we make for ourselves.”—USA Today

“Mesmerizing . . . a Joycean look at the lives of New Yorkers changed by a single act on a single day . . . McCann’s marvelously rich novel . . . weaves a portrait of a city and a moment, dizzyingly satisfying to read and difficult to put down.”—The Seattle Times

“Vibrantly whole . . . With a series of spare, gorgeously wrought vignettes, Colum McCann brings 1970s New York to life. . . . And as always, McCann’s heart-stoppingly simple descriptions wow.”—Entertainment Weekly

“An act of pure bravado, dizzying proof that to keep your balance you need to know how to fall.”—O: The Oprah Magazine
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