cover image Marigold and Rose

Marigold and Rose

Louise Glück. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $18 (64p) ISBN 978-0-374-60758-6

Poet Glück (Winter Recipes from the Collective), a Nobel Prize winner, makes her fiction debut with a quirky story of the inner lives of infant twins. Marigold and Rose are opposites. Marigold prefers keeping to herself and, in her mind, is writing a book about the conundrum that their mother was once a child. Rose prefers attention and action. The mother is kind, and their father is always pleased to see them after returning from work (indeed, it’s “always a festival when he came home”). The twins wrestle with making sense of the world, such as the story of heaven told to them after their grandmother dies or how her death connects to their mother’s sudden desire to find a job. As the babies’ first birthday arrives, they begin to recognize their differences, which Glück conceptualizes in clever references to their names (Rose credits the red lollipops they receive at the doctor’s office to her beauty, rather than the yellow for Marigold). There’s not much of a plot, but Glück is surgically precise in her prose: Marigold is a “lot of needs improvement boxes checked,” while Rose’s first efforts at talking come “in loud gusts and torrents.” It’s an odd little work, but a good one. Agent: Sarah Chalfant, Wylie Agency. (Oct.)