Bertino (2 A.M. at the Cat’s Pajamas) impresses with this dreamlike, sardonic novel about a woman questioning her impending marriage while processing the trauma of a terrorist attack. Holed up in a Long Island inn during the week leading up to her wedding, a 36-year-old woman, known only as the bride, is visited by her dead grandmother, a first-generation American, in the form of a parakeet. The bird commands her to find her estranged sibling, Tom, a successful and reclusive playwright. The bride attends Tom’s play, titled Parakeet, which depicts a fictionalized version of an anti-immigrant attack on a coffee shop she worked in when she was 18 (the bride describes herself as appearing “ethnically ambiguous”; she is of Basque and Romany descent). Later, the bride is startled to see her mother in the mirror, and continues to be unsettled by her pending transition into the role of “wife” (“I get the sense that the number of people who are married is not equal to the number of people that give the institution much thought”). These thoughts lead to an affecting description of the bride’s memory of being wounded in the coffee shop rampage. The bride’s conflicted emotions come to a head as the novel builds to a satisfying end. Fans of Rivka Galchen will delight in Bertino’s subtly fantastical tale. (Jun.)
Reviewed on : 02/21/2020 Release date: 06/02/2020 Genre: Fiction
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