cover image Us Fools

Us Fools

Nora Lange. Two Dollar Radio, $18.95 trade paper (344p) ISBN 978-1-953387-51-6

In Lange’s resonant debut, a woman reflects on how she and her sister struggled to survive on their family’s Illinois farm during the mid-1980s recession. At nine, Bernadette Fareown and her impulsive 11-year-old sister, Joanna, call themselves “junk kids.” Their family’s homestead has seen better days, and the mood is glum, especially after Jo’s attempted suicide following her diagnosis of severe scoliosis. With their parents unable to pay the bills, Bernadette “watched my family fall apart, over and over.” Bankrupt, they flee to a Chicago apartment, where Bernadette pursues her dream of a formal education while Jo’s behavior becomes increasingly reckless. Bernadette’s recounting of the family’s history follows her recent trip to Alaska to see Jo, who is pregnant and has been recently released from a mental hospital. Lange’s lucid story digs deep into the bonds of family and the alliances that are formed and retained across time and despite changing circumstances. Readers will be captivated. Agent: Martha Wydysh, Trident Media Group. (Sept.)