cover image The Writing Circle

The Writing Circle

Corinne Demas, Hyperion/Voice, $23.99 (304p) ISBN 978-1-4013-4114-5

Nancy Markopolis, a medical newsletter editor working earnestly on a novel inspired by her late, beloved father, is invited into an exclusive Massachusetts writers' group, the Leopardi Circle, by hapless historian Bernard, setting in motion this convoluted tale of professional jealousy and literary theft. What Nancy doesn't realize is that to gain a spot in the circle, her work must be judged worthy by a group that includes, among others, Bernard's novelist ex-wife, Virginia, and the cold but wildly successful poet Gillian Coit. As she gets to know the members of the insular group, including who is sleeping (or not sleeping) with whom, accusations of plagiarism arise and lead to a number of shifting alliances, troubling revelations, and a looming showdown. Demas (Eleven Stories High) offers a dense, intricately detailed Massachusetts literary community populated by characters who appraise each others' relationships and furniture just as harshly as their writing—and with the same assessing smile—but what begins as an arresting study in moral ambiguity, however, ends in a clear-cut revenge plot hobbled by an outsized cast. (July)