wrap-up: books read in February 2017


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House of Names by Colm Tóibín ★★★ + review

The Grownup by Gillian Flynn ★★★★

All The Ugly and Wonderful Things by Bryn Greenwood ★★ + review on goodreads

Breakfast at Tiffany’s by Truman Capote ★★★613zgihvtbl-_sx329_bo1204203200_

The Cripple of Inishmaan by Martin McDonagh ★★★ + review

Things We Lost in the Fire by Mariana Enriquez ★★★ + review

Pachinko by Min Jin Lee ★★★★★ + review

Translations by Brian Friel ★★★★★ + review

And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie ★★★★★

An Iliad by Lisa Peterson & Denis O’Hare ★★★★★ + review

The Crucible by Arthur Miller ★★★★

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All in all, a pretty good month!  I’m not going to do a monthly TBR on this blog because what I decide to read next changes on a whim, but I figured it wouldn’t hurt to have my monthly books all in one place.  Here are the highlights of my first wrap-up:

Best: Pachinko by Min Jin Lee
Runner up: Translations by Brian Friel
Worst: All The Ugly and Wonderful Things by Bryn Greenwood

I can’t believe I read four 5 star books in a row.  As much as I love reading I tend to err on the side of critical, so the fact that I only ended up with one 2-star book this month is pretty impressive.

Have you guys read any of these books?  What was your favorite read from February?


book (play script) review: An Iliad by Lisa Peterson and Denis O’Hare


An Iliad by Lisa Peterson and Denis O’Hare

published in 2012


Scholars for centuries have debated whether Homer’s Iliad is a pro- or anti-war epic. And it’s a great discussion, because even though war is undeniably the thematic center of the work, glory and grief are both explored so fully that there’s always going to be this unresolved ambiguity. Meanwhile Lisa Peterson and Denis O’Hare’s theatrical adaptation An Iliad firmly takes a side and runs with it.

An Iliad is a one-man show, in which our narrator, ‘The Poet,’ tells the story of the Trojan War, focusing on the conflict between Achilles and Hector. Abbreviated with admirable succinctness, all major events that occur in the human realm in The Iliad are at least touched upon. But more than a simple retelling, Peterson and O’Hare take a story with a famously epic scope, and bring it down to a scale that we as a contemporary audience can engage with, imbuing it with intimate and tactile details which I imagine are only augmented while viewing it in its intended theatrical setting.

You could argue that there’s a certain lack of subtlety in an anti-war polemic that takes up four entire pages relaying a list of every known major conflict in recorded history. But it’s the immediacy of hearing (or reading) these words – the suffocating rhythm of the list and its fearlessness that really drives home the tension and horror and tragedy which exist both at the heart of the epic and at the heart of Peterson and O’Hare’s vision. Wrought with inevitability as our weary narrator tells the story he’s so familiar with, An Iliad is a piercing examination and condemnation of the horrors of war, and man’s tendency toward conflict. A thought-provoking, faithful adaptation which honors the original story and embraces the unique conventions of its medium.

+ link to review on goodreads

book review: Things We Lost in the Fire by Mariana Enríquez


Things We Lost in the Fire by Mariana Enríquez

US pub date: February 21, 2017


Macabre and often grotesque, Things We Lost in the Fire is a short story collection that puts a literary spin on the horror genre, in which Mariana Enríquez’s beautiful prose compels you to explore the darkest corners of contemporary Argentine society. In a collection that ranges from ghost stories to psychological horror, at times the distinction between these two horror sub-genres isn’t entirely clear-cut. To what extent is this horror real, and to what extent is it a psychological manifestation? This collection is characterized by a sort of toxic obsessiveness, and Enríquez never shies away from showing the most horrible and cruel aspects of human nature. Each story is fueled by a tense urgency that pulls you in and leaves you wanting more – but this was part of the problem, for me.

There’s a sort of dissatisfying ambiguity to each of these narratives, and I found myself constantly wishing Enriquez would go a bit further. The open endings work at times, and add to the uneasy atmosphere (Adela’s House and The Inn are good examples), but at other times the ambiguity serves only to frustrate. I was sure I would end up giving this collection 4 stars at first, waiting for that one story that would wow me and justify the high rating, but I kept finding story after story to suffer from that feeling of incompleteness.

Favorites were: The Intoxicated Years, The Inn, An Invocation of the Big-Eared Runt, and Adela’s House. Least favorites were: Under the Black Water, Things We Lost in the Fire, Spiderweb, and Green Red Orange.

Ultimately: recommended to horror fans who (1) aren’t easily triggered – there is some seriously disturbing stuff in these pages – and (2) don’t mind ambiguous endings. Enríquez’s strength is the unsettling atmosphere that she so expertly evokes; this collection is really for readers who are willing to enjoy the journey rather than spend the whole time looking for answers.

I received a copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.  Thank you Netgalley, Hogarth Press, and Mariana Enríquez.

+ link to review on goodreads

top 5 wednesday: Books to Get You Out of a Reading Slump

I’m still getting into the swing of this blogging thing, so I thought it’d be fun to do some Top 5 Wednesday posts on occasion.  I probably won’t keep up with this every single week, but I’ll do it when the prompts seem particularly interesting.  This week’s prompt is: books to get you out of a reading slump.  So without further ado:


Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng: It seemed appropriate to start here, since I urged a friend of mine to read this book a few months ago, and she said, and I quote, “this book got me out of my reading slump.”  How’s that for a testimonial?  Everything I Never Told You is Celeste Ng’s brilliant debut novel about a girl whose sudden and unexpected death shocks and disarms a close-knit Asian-American family in 1970s Ohio.  It’s not a book about shocking plot twists, and the mystery itself (though you do eventually get answers) takes a backseat to the compelling family dynamic.  It may not sound like the most exciting book ever written, but trust me, this is an impossible to put down page-turner, which leaves you guessing and wanting more.  Plus, with its short page count, this is the perfect place to start for anyone looking for an immersive reading experience without the intimidating length.

29981261The Butterfly Garden by Dot Hutchison: This is a thoroughly disturbing story about a man who imprisons women and brands them each with an individual butterfly tattoo, housing them in his “garden” until they turn 21, at which time he kills them.  When the Garden is finally discovered, FBI agents interview one of the survivors, Maya, and it turns out there’s even more to this story than meets the eye.  It’s dark, twisted, fucked up, and above all else, addicting as hell.  I remember I was meant to be reading a couple of other things the weekend I picked this up, but I ended up ignoring those in favor of this compulsively readable book.  If you’re a fan of mysteries and/or psychological horror, this is a must-read.  (Trigger warning for rape – nothing too graphic, but it’s rather omnipresent in the background throughout the story.)


The Lake of Dead Languages by Carol Goodman: Like Donna Tartt’s The Secret History with its murder-meets-academia premise, but a bit lighter on the elitism.  Which isn’t a dig – TSH is one of my favorite books.  But I’m opting for the possibly easier to digest Lake of Dead Languages instead for this particular Top 5 – TSH is more of a slow burn, whereas TLODL sucks you in immediately with its fast pace and intricately crafted mystery.  Set at a private girl’s high school in upstate New York, we follow the story of Jane, whose own time at the high school 20 years ago ended in the tragic suicide of her two roommates.  Now Jane has returned to Heart Lake to teach Latin, but when pages of Jane’s journal which has been missing for 20 years begin to turn up, she finds herself at the center of two parallel mysteries, involving both her own past and her current students.  This is the perfect book for fans of the unique academic thriller genre, who want a story that’s fast paced, memorable, layered, and addicting.


Girl Waits with Gun by Amy Stewart: A short and sweet book about girls kicking ass, set in 1914 New Jersey and based on a true story.  When the self-reliant Constance Kopp and her sisters begin to get harassed by a local gang, they take matters into their own hands, resisting help from the male figures in their lives an opting instead to protect themselves.  While it’s mostly a light and fluffy read, it still packs quite an emotional punch with its endearing and vivid characters, fast moving chapters, and intriguing plot.  Recommended for readers in search of feminism, escapism, or some combination of the two.  It’s a delightful story that sucks you in immediately.


The Most Dangerous Place on Earth by Lindsey Lee Johnson: This isn’t your average teen angst book.  Set at a high school in an upscale California suburb and focusing on the lives of a wide array of students, Lindsey Lee Johnson’s debut novel breathes new life into the teenage drama narrative.  TMDPOE toes the line between the adult fiction and YA genres – I was unsure how to classify this book when I added it on goodreads, but really, does it matter?  As an adult reader, I never felt condescended to; rather, there’s an honesty and an urgency to this narrative which consistently treats all of its teen protagonists with respect.  Both a thrilling page-turner and an incisive commentary on wealth and privilege, this is a tour de force debut novel that I read in one sitting.

Have you guys read any of these books?  Comment and let me know what you thought!

book review: Running by Cara Hoffman

Running by Cara Hoffman

US pub date: February 21, 2017


Running is a strange and ambitious whirlwind of a novel. It tells the story of Bridey Sullivan, a young American woman living on the streets of Athens, who takes up with Jasper and Milo, a British couple living and working in the hotel Olympos. The three work as ‘runners,’ essentially hustling tourists into staying at their run-down hotel in exchange for commission and a place to stay.

I wasn’t sure what to expect from this novel and now, having finished it, I’m not really sure what I got from it. I’m sort of confused and very conflicted.

The best part of this book was the atmosphere. The red light district of 1980s Athens comes to life on the page. Evocative and lyrical, Hoffman’s prose complements the insular setting and draws the reader into this world of crime and addiction. The characters, flawed and compelling, all make a strong impression. This is a book about the indelible impressions that relationships leave over time, a motif explored particularly well by the scope of Hoffman’s narrative.

Now, onto the bad. I’m not sure what logic (if any?) Running‘s timeline follows. It’s certainly no logic that I recognize. I was constantly confused about when Bridey’s narration was taking place, and while I understand that this uncertainty was most likely intentional on the author’s part, it really detracted from my ability to get invested in this narrative. Additionally, the switches from Bridey’s first-person POV to Milo’s third-person are jarring. Maybe it’s a matter of opinion, but I personally dislike when first and third person are used in a novel together.

As a disclaimer for this next complaint, I just want to clarify that I am not the sort of reader who requires every facet of a story to be wrapped up in a neat bow. I actually enjoy ambiguous endings more often than not. But I need to feel like that ambiguity serves a purpose other than frustrating the reader, and I didn’t really get that here. This isn’t just a case of ‘do not expect answers’ – it goes further and we get into the murky territory of ‘do not even be sure which questions you’re supposed to be asking of this book.’

The bottom line is that Running needed more. There is so much potential here. A story which promises to be filled to the brim with excitement ends up being rather anemic, and I’m personally left with too many questions to have found this a particularly rewarding reading experience.

If you want a book that’s as thought-provoking as it is sultry and atmospheric, look no further. If you want a comprehensive story that examines its themes to their full potential and leaves no stone unturned, skip this one. The problem is, I’m not sure which category I fall into. A tentative 3 stars.  And bonus points for the insanely gorgeous cover.

I received a copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.  Thanks Netgalley, Simon & Schuster, and Cara Hoffman.

+ link to review on goodreads

book (play script) review: Translations by Brian Friel


Translations by Brian Friel

published in 1980



Translations, set in a fictional Donegal village in 1833, is a play about a 19th century Ordnance Survey wherein a mass Anglicization of Irish-Gaelic place names occurred. This cartography project sets the context for Friel’s narrative, a story which, for its many layers, is ultimately a bold examination of the function of language.

The characters in the play, a group of students who attend a local hedge school, speak only Irish. In actuality the actors on stage are speaking English, and when English-speaking soldiers arrive, the audience is meant to infer that the two parties are unable to communicate. The multilingual Irish schoolmaster and his two sons exist at this intersection of language and culture, and the liberties they take in translating back and forth remind us that translation isn’t a wholly linguistic effort: it’s a complex process in which meanings become twisted and manipulated.

Though the students speak very little English, they fluently read Latin and Ancient Greek, this integration of dead languages paralleling the probable future of Gaelic. It also provides a delicate subversion of the traditional colonial narrative which hinges on the conqueror imparting culture upon the ‘barbarians’ – in Friel’s play, the Irish are the educated, the multilingual, the classicists. The function of English then becomes one of eradication rather than enlightenment.

In examining Ireland’s complex socio-linguistic history, Translations is a fascinating look at colonization, English imperialism, and the function of language as a tool that’s at once manipulative, restrictive, and liberating. Although this is a play whose themes are perhaps more interesting than the story itself, the characters are all endearing, and the plot, though slow-moving, keeps you engaged through its conclusion. A challenging, erudite, and moving work. I’d love the chance to see this performed live some day.

Written in 1980, this play was the first production by the Field Day Theatre Company, a collaboration between Friel and Irish actor Stephen Rea.  It was also adapted as a radio play for BBC Radio 4 in 2010.

+ link to review on goodreads

book review: Pachinko by Min Jin Lee



Pachinko by Min Jin Lee

US pub date: February 7, 2017



A beautiful book from start to finish. Gentle, elegant, and deeply moving, this one will stay with me for a long time.

Pachinko tells the story of a Korean family through multiple generations, spanning nearly a hundred years and multiple locations. The novel begins against the backdrop of the Japanese annexation of Korea in 1910, and as the story progresses, it explores the unique discrimination faced by Koreans living in Japan in the twentieth century.

Our story commences with Sunja, a young woman from a small Korean town who finds herself pregnant, abandoned by her lover, and seemingly out of options. When a traveling minister, a kind-hearted but sickly man, agrees to take her to Japan and marry her, the wheels of the story are set into motion, as we follow Sunja, her husband Isak, and the life they manage to create together while facing constant adversity.

This is a quiet book whose thematic richness is all the more powerful for the subtlety with which it is rendered. Questions of home, nationality, and cultural identity permeate this nearly 500 page narrative, manifesting and reinforcing themselves in the lives of characters across generations, but Min Jin Lee rather expertly leaves the reader to draw our own conclusions. Lee resists any temptation to simplify the complicated Japanese-Korean relationship, as the ambitiously sweeping narrative manages to paint a comprehensive picture of the Korean immigrant experience. Historical elements are integrated seamlessly into our story of the fictional Baek family, continuously edifying but never overwhelming the reader. While Lee’s careful narrative doesn’t dilute the intricacy of the topics which she showcases, it’s still a rather accessible introduction for readers who may not be familiar with the complex socio-political history of these two countries.

Lee’s writing is light and elegant, and for such a long novel the pace rarely falters. While it may not be a story filled to the brim with action, it keeps you turning pages, mourning and grieving and celebrating with these characters who feel as close as family by the end. I raced through this in a couple of days and now feel sad that it’s over.

Above all else a nuanced exploration of cultural identity, Pachinko is an incredible achievement. I cannot recommend this highly enough to fans of family sagas, historical fiction, fiction set in East Asia, or really any reader who just wants a good story.

+ link to review on goodreads

book (play script) review: The Cripple of Inishmaan by Martin McDonagh


The Cripple of Inishmaan by Martin McDonagh
published in 1997

I was already familiar with this play, since I got the chance to see the 2013 production with Daniel Radcliffe at the Noel Coward Theatre in London. But I hadn’t read it until now, and reading the script reaffirmed a lot of the thoughts I had while watching it on stage. I like it, but I don’t love it.

The Cripple of Inishmaan, set in 1934, follows the titular character, a boy named Billy Craven, as he navigates life in his small Irish community while living with a physical deformity that he’s had since birth.  When a film crew arrives to shoot the real-life documentary Man of Aran, Billy sees his chance to escape his small life and travel to America to become a film star.   Inishmaan is an insular and almost claustrophobic look at small town dynamics, and the particular mean-spiritedness that arises toward anyone who challenges the established order.  Humorous though it may be with jokes about staring at cows and a often revisited line about how Ireland can’t be so bad if __ wants to visit, there’s an undeniable darkness that permeates this script, especially in the second half of the play.

I don’t think this is Martin McDonagh’s strongest work. He is the undisputed master of the black comedy, but that careful balance between gravity and levity that he strikes so expertly is I think at its best in The Pillowman and In Bruges. Inishmaan relies too heavily on inane humor to carry it until its conclusion, which is so tonally incompatible with the rest of the play that it’s easy for some of its darker moments to get swallowed up and misconstrued. Maybe that jarring tonal shift is the point, or maybe comedy and tragedy just don’t complement one another here to their full potential.

Like all of McDonagh’s work, Inishmaan is absurd and biting and irreverent and cruel, and the result is something poignant that won’t readily leave your mind after you’re done with it. That said, knowing the magic he’s capable of, this isn’t my favorite. 3.5 stars.

+ link to review on goodreads

book review: The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane by Lisa See


The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane by Lisa See

 US pub date: March 21, 2017


I’ve been a huge fan of Lisa See for years. Snow Flower and the Secret Fan, Shanghai Girls, and Dreams of Joy are some of my all-time favorite historical fiction novels. But then in 2014 she came out with China Dolls which many, myself included, considered a massive disappointment and not at all up to her usual standard. As this is the first novel she’s published since then, it was with both excitement and trepidation that I approached The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane. Was China Dolls a random flop, or an indication of a new direction in her writing?

Well, it’s safe to breathe a sigh of relief, because Lisa See is back, with this compulsively readable tale of a Chinese girl from a southeastern hill tribe, who gives her baby up for adoption after giving birth out of wedlock.

My favorite thing about Lisa See’s novels is her unerring attention to detail and her skill at immersing the reader in different periods and locations throughout Chinese history. In this case, the novel begins in 1988, and our narrator Li-yan is a member of the Akha tribe – a ethnic group that I knew absolutely nothing about before picking up this novel. Lisa See sheds light onto their rich history and culture in a way that’s both engrossing and sensitive. She also delves into a lot of other subjects that I now know much more about than I did a week ago: the history of pu’er tea, Chinese land ownership laws in the wake of the Cultural Revolution, the shifting growth of the international tea economy. This was a very illuminating read on multiple levels, and the historical elements weave seamlessly through Li-yan’s narrative. Though Li-yan begins the story as a bright young girl with a promising future in academia, a series of difficult choices leads her to hardship early on in her life, which only serves to fortify her character as the story continues. Meanwhile we catch glimpses of Li-yan’s daughter, Haley, who grows up searching for answers about the identity of her birth parents and her heritage. It’s a captivating, moving story, which keeps the reader constantly engaged despite its length, and although its footing falters somewhat around the 60% mark, it culminates in an ultimately gratifying conclusion.

4 stars instead of 5 because I wasn’t completely satisfied with See’s prose this time around. One sort of awkward characteristic of her writing is a tendency to favor authenticity over poetic license – let’s take the most obvious example, “doing the intercourse.” Is this a more direct translation than “having sex” from the Akha’s Sino-Tibetan language? I actually have no idea. Probably. I trust Lisa See’s research skills. But the awkward translation also lends a slight sense of absurdity to See’s otherwise solid prose, as do the abundance of exclamation points and the frequent interjection waaa! in the middle of the narrator’s thoughts.

For the full Lisa See experience, I cannot recommend Snow Flower and/or Shanghai Girls/Dreams of Joy highly enough. But if prose isn’t the make it or break it factor for you (and I will stress that it wasn’t bad, just not quite up to the standard that I know See is capable of), The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane has a lot to offer. It’s a richly detailed story that spans several decades and multiple locations, both in southeast China and America; it’s a story about the strength born from suffering and the reconciliation of innovation and tradition, told in a fascinating and unique historical narrative.

I received a copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.  Thank you Netgalley, Scribner, and Lisa See.

+ link to review on goodreads

book review: House of Names by Colm Tóibín


House of Names by Colm Tóibín

US pub date: May 18, 2017


House of Names is Irish writer Colm Toibin’s retelling of the story of the house of Atreus – an ancient tale fraught with tragedy and vengeance, most famously depicted in Aeschylus’ Oresteia. This is going to be a long and detailed (though spoiler-free) review, because Ancient Greek lit is something of a passion of mine and this was my most anticipated read of 2017.

This is a story that I’ve loved for years, and have loved enough to read it in multiple iterations by different authors. Which begs the question – why? What exactly does a retelling accomplish? How does an author effectively strike a balance between the old and the new, between honoring a story which has been loved for centuries, and giving it new depth? I think readers go into retellings hoping to see the elements that we loved about the original preserved, but also to see gaps filled in, or to see a new intimacy given to a story originally told with impartiality. This question was on my mind the whole time I was reading this novel – what has Toibin succeeded in adding to this familiar tale?

House of Names begins with the point of view of Clytemnestra, who plots to murder her husband Agamemnon in retaliation for Agamemnon sacrificing their eldest daughter, Iphigenia. Clytemnestra is a character who I find particularly intriguing, and a character who I think has been unfairly maligned in various works of literature through the ages. Toibin’s Clytemnestra is everything I could have hoped for: she masquerades vulnerability with a hard exterior, she is motivated by vengeance while being grounded by a love for her family. She’s complex and nuanced and Toibin succeeds in humanizing rather than vilifying her. It’s a promising start to a novel which I hoped would be told in its entirety from this perspective. It’s hard to build on the thematic richness of The Oresteia, which concerns itself with questions of conflicting systems of justice (justice through vengeance vs. justice through law), but one often unexamined thematic thread is that of gender, which permeates the original narrative as Clytemnestra’s crimes are viewed through a different lens than Orestes’ and Agamemnon’s. How better to give this story new depth from a contemporary perspective than to tell it from a female point of view?

But then the narration shifts to Orestes, and things go downhill. As we plod through an unnecessarily long chapter detailing Orestes’ kidnap from the palace of Mycenae, I couldn’t help but to think: why? Why are we devoting so much of this narrative to Orestes? Clytemnestra is a character who has historically never been given much of a narrative voice. Orestes, on the other hand – there is no dearth of material surrounding Orestes. Homer and Aeschylus and Pindar and Sophocles and Euripides have pretty much got that covered.

But interestingly, Toibin takes this character of Orestes who is traditionally known for his resolve, and renders him rather inert. In Homer’s Odyssey, Orestes is consistently held up as a shining example of decisive action to Odysseus’ son Telemachus, who is being urged to reclaim his house from the influx of his mother’s suitors. In Toibin’s House of Names, Orestes is a follower – he doesn’t make decisions, but rather, waits for the affirmation of his friend Leander and his sister Electra. Is this an intentional subversion of Orestes’ traditionally hyper-masculine narrative? If so, why does Toibin allow Orestes’ point of view to overpower his narrative at the expense of Clytemnestra and Electra’s perspectives? Wouldn’t a more effective subversion be to reduce Orestes’ narration, or eliminate it altogether?

Once Orestes’ perspective took over, I couldn’t help but to feel a certain aimlessness to this story. After the sacrifice of Iphigenia, one of the most poignant and harrowing renderings of that scene that I’ve ever read, Toibin’s narrative begins to be infiltrated by details I no longer recognize. While I have no theoretical objections to authors deviating from the well worn path of canon (some of the best retellings I’ve read have involved original characters or invented plotlines – Katharine Beutner’s Alcestis and David Malouf’s Ransom come to mind), I struggle to discern the rationale behind some of Toibin’s choices. He omits Pylades and invents a character to essentially fill the role of Pylades – why? He changes the duration of the Trojan War from nine years to five years – why? He does a complete overhaul of Aegisthus’ narrative – why? None of this becomes self-evident throughout Toibin’s meandering story, and the result is frustrating. The further you read, the more this story’s initial poignancy becomes diluted.

Since this review has erred on the side of the critical, I do want to highlight what I thought were particular successes. Toibin’s writing is beautiful and visceral. This is only the second Toibin novel I’ve read after Brooklyn, which I enjoyed well enough while being frustrated by a certain detachment in the narration, but I didn’t think that was the case here. This is an inherently brutal story, and Toibin’s prose succeeds in adding another layer of darkness and unease, creating a tense and urgent environment. The two chapters which focus on Clytemnestra are superb, and the first-person narration was an excellent choice here.

I would tentatively recommend this to readers who maybe aren’t so familiar with the original story that Toibin is attempting to build upon, because this seems to be where the majority of my criticism lies. It’s impossible for me to say how this story would stand on its own for one who is entirely unfamiliar with these characters and their fates, but maybe that reader would fare better with the unconventional journey that Toibin takes us on. It’s not that I necessarily want to see the events of Aeschylus’ Oresteia rehashed in exactly the same fashion, but I felt like Toibin never embraced his unique contemporary perspective to its full potential; the invented details felt extraneous and did nothing to augment the themes present in the original.

This wasn’t a bad novel. I’m always critical of the things I love the most.

I received a copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you Scribner, Simon & Schuster, Netgalley, and Colm Toibin.

+ link to review on goodreads