The Englewood Review of Books
Best Books of 2021
*** Our 2021 Novel of the Year!!!
The characters stumble toward questions about the structures holding them — their bodies, homes, identities — wondering how and where to draw their borders. Sam turns out to be an ideal guide. She’s rash, funny, searching, entirely unpredictable, appalled at her own entitlement and ineffectuality — drawn with a kind of skeptical fondness that recalls a Grace Paley line: “Everyone, real or invented, deserves the open destiny of life.”
The local pleasures of Spiotta’s writing are sharp, and many: Sam recalling the narcotic pleasure of holding her daughter as a baby, her painful longing and loneliness for it now. Or smaller moments: the tug of a fork cutting through cake, say, or the vicious infighting in the Hardcore Hags group. So much contemporary fiction swims about in its own theories; what a pleasure to encounter not just ideas about the thing, but the thing itself — descriptions that irradiate the pleasure centers of the brain, a protagonist so densely, exuberantly imagined, she feels like a visitation.
- from the NY Times review of this book by Parul Sehgal
[ Read the full review ]
*** WATCH a video conversation about this novel
between Dana Spiotta and George Saunders…
Reading for the Common Good
From ERB Editor Christopher Smith
"This book will inspire, motivate and challenge anyone who cares a whit about the written word, the world of ideas, the shape of our communities and the life of the church."
-Karen Swallow Prior
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