Nancy Huston, trans. from the French by the author. Grove/Black Cat, $14 trade paper (448p) ISBN 978-0-8021-2027-4
Huston’s exceptional new novel (after the Prix Femina Award–winning Fault Lines) chronicles a weeklong Italian trip taken by photographer Rena Greenblatt to celebrate her father’s 70th birthday. Trouble brews early when two teenagers are electrocuted near Rena’s home in Paris, sparking riots, and Rena’s lover/colleague urges her to come back to document the chaos. As Rena gets lost in an internal conversation with her imaginary sister, Huston expertly navigates past and present, taking us into vivid recollections of Rena’s absent lawyer mother, who killed herself; the secret alliances Rena shared with her scientist father, a one-time radical who didn’t live up to his potential; her complicated relationship with her older brother; her somewhat dim stepmother, Ingrid; her many affairs; and how all of it made her who she is. Huston makes her protagonist likable despite her irksome quirks: she’s short with her guileless stepmother, indignant and quick to start arguments with anyone who disagrees with her; in short, Rena feels truly real, which makes the novel’s abrupt ending all the more disappointing. Agent: Text Publishing Co., Melbourne, Australia. (July)
Reviewed on: 05/07/2012
Release date: 07/01/2012
Open Ebook - 272 pages - 978-0-8021-9440-4
Paperback - 345 pages - 978-1-921758-68-3
Open Ebook - 345 pages - 978-1-921834-96-7
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