Eleanor Wasserberg. Penguin, $16 trade paper (320p) ISBN 978-0-14-311185-6
In Wasserberg’s absorbingly creepy debut, a young girl grows up in an isolated commune at the edge of a Stonehenge-like group of standing stones. Born in the decaying old mansion that is the home of a “ragtag group” called the Family, the girl known only as Green tells her story from her own limited point of view, leaving the reader to infer much that the narrator can’t understand. It’s a literary perspective much like that of Emma Donoghue’s Room, and used to equally chilling effect here. Green’s troubled mother, Freya, one of the group’s founders, alternately smothers her daughter with affection and punishes her in grisly ways to get rid of “the Bad.” When a baby the Family names Blue is brought in from the feared outside world, Green is wracked with jealousy, and the stage is set for the downfall of the already distressed commune. Though the ending of the novel is violent, that horror arises naturally out of what precedes it. The narrator’s voice is equal parts naive and wise; Wasserberg has a gift for allowing the reader into this world inch by inch while playing up its claustrophobic nature, as well as the aspects that make Green susceptible to its enchantments. Agent: Noah Ballard, Curtis Brown. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 03/13/2017
Release date: 04/04/2017
Genre: Fiction
Audio book sample courtesy of Penguin Random House Audio
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