cover image Grief Cottage

Grief Cottage

Gail Godwin. Bloomsbury, $26 (336p) ISBN 978-1-63286-704-9

A young boy obsessed with a haunted beach shack searches for meaning amid catastrophic loss in National Book Award–finalist Godwin’s (Flora) chilling novel. After Marcus’s mother dies, the 11-year-old leaves with his great-aunt Charlotte to live on a small South Carolina island. Marcus receives little comfort from the laconic, reclusive painter, but falls easily into an unexpected role as her caretaker and companion. Analytical beyond his years but lacking an adult’s skepticism, Marcus becomes entranced by the ramshackle cottage that Charlotte has painted for countless commissions over the years. After being told a family had disappeared there 50 years earlier, Marcus seeks answers long buried by time. The book moves between the fantastical and the everyday with ease; Marcus is just as likely to shop for his elderly neighbors as to whisper encouragement to loggerhead hatchlings or offer friendship to the restless spirits of the island. But nothing and no one on the island can break free of the forces that build and destroy, that give life and bring death. As time pushes him forward, Marcus must decide how to grieve: to raze his identity completely or memorialize his tragedies. His choice and its consequences will echo with readers, and Godwin’s forceful prose captivates with the quiet, renewing power of a persistent tide. Agent: Moses Cardona, John Hawkins and Associates. (June)