Flora

Gail Godwin, Author
Gail Godwin. Bloomsbury, $26 (288p) ISBN 978-1-62040-120-0
Reviewed on: 02/11/2013
Release date: 05/07/2013
Open Ebook - 978-1-62040-121-7
Hardcover - 399 pages - 978-1-4104-6047-9
Paperback - 294 pages - 978-1-62040-122-4
Hardcover - 288 pages - 978-1-4088-4086-3
Hardcover - 278 pages - 978-1-4088-4089-4
Hardcover - 288 pages - 978-1-4088-4087-0
Hardcover - 328 pages - 978-1-4448-2091-1
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Narrator Helen Anstruther, “going on eleven,” is the relentlessly charismatic and wry star of this stirring and wondrous novel from Godwin (Unfinished Desires). In the summer of 1945, in the mountains of North Carolina, Helen is trying to make sense of the world since her beloved grandmother’s death. When her father leaves to do “secret work for World War II” in neighboring Tennessee, this becomes much more challenging, and Helen, motherless for years, is left in the care of 22-year-old Flora, a delicate and, Helen might say, hopelessly effusive relative. Helen has grown up in a rambling old house that once served as a home for convalescent tubercular or inebriate “Recoverers” under the care of Helen’s physician grandfather. For a precocious girl who has lost everyone who’s ever loved and known her, the house becomes a mesmerizing and steadfast companion. Though Flora initially appears to Helen as little more than a country bumpkin, their time together profoundly transforms them both. Godwin’s thoughtful portrayal of their boredom, desires, and the eventual heartbreak of their summer underscores the impossible position of children, who are powerless against the world and yet inherit responsibility for its agonies. Agent: Moses Cardona, John Hawkins & Associates. (May)
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