The Girls at 17 Swann Street

Yara Zgheib. St. Martin’s, $27.99 (352p) ISBN 978-1-250-20244-4
In her powerful debut, Zgheib masterfully chronicles the pain of an anorexic’s distorted thinking and intense fear of food in a riveting diarylike structure. Plucked from Paris to St. Louis, former dancer Anna Aubry Roux is 26 years old, married, and in the fight of her life with a severe eating disorder. After fainting in the bathroom and being discovered by her husband, Anna is sent to a residential treatment facility. She is still in denial about her condition, even as she drops to 88 pounds. As she bonds with the other women, including former Olympian hopeful Emm and tortured Ivy League grad Valerie, Anna sees herself in them, and they in her; indeed, it is the residents who show Anna how much she has to live for. Anna’s fits and starts toward recovery are realistically and poignantly depicted. The author also adroitly shows how past traumas (for Anna, her brother’s death in a car accident and her mother’s death by suicide) can manifest in a relentless need for control. This is an impressive, deeply moving debut. 100,000-copy announced first printing. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 12/17/2018
Release date: 02/05/2019
Genre: Fiction
Compact Disc - 978-1-250-31419-2
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