Jubilee

Jennifer Givhan. Blackstone, $25.99 (320p) ISBN 978-1-538-55677-1
In Givhan’s intense, artfully woven psychological drama (after Trinity Sight), a woman treats a doll as if it is her living infant child. Bianca Vogelsang, 20, shows up at the home of her brother, Matty, bleeding and bruised, and insists a doll she’s carrying is her daughter, Jubilee. The reader soon comes to learn that the smart, ambitious Bianca, a poetry student of some promise in thrall to the work of Sandra Cisneros, had been in an abusive relationship with her high school sweetheart, Gabe, who convinced her to get an abortion at 15. Several months after Bianca shows up at Matty’s house, she kindles a romance with a fellow student Joshua Walker, and becomes pregnant again, but even thnen is unable to let go of her belief that Jubilee is her daughter. Givhan flashes back to when Bianca was pregnant at 15 and Gabe threatens to abandon her and sexually assaults her. Another flashback dovetails with the book’s climax and sheds more light on Bianca’s attachment to Jubilee, which has consequences for Matty and Joshua. Bianca’s repeated meditations on bodies of water as a source of life (“Rivers take, yes, but rivers bring back”) and the echoes of lines from Cisneros add rich lyrical layers to the fast-paced plot. Givhan rewards readers with a fiery story. Agent: Laura Blake Peterson, Curtis Brown. (Oct.)
Reviewed on : 08/14/2020
Release date: 10/06/2020
Genre: Fiction
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