Monday, June 29, 2009
"Words can be like arrows. You can't see them, and that's why they're so dangerous. With an ordinary arrow, if you get hit, you know you have to remove it from your body. With words, you can never pull them out once they get stuck in your mind."
This quote comes toward the end of this extraordinary novel, but it is it's essence. At
first it seems that this book is about a woman, Lila, dealing with the shocking 'suicide by cop' death of her twin, Billy. But that is simply the point where we jump into these two people's tangled, damaged, mystery shrouded lives. As Lila struggles to hold on to her own fragile sanity, her husband Patrick helps her to find out more of her
past--something that she has very little memory of prior to the age of 16. Billy had
provided her with all of her memories before that without ever explaining why she could
not remember herself. What emerges is a cycle of abuse that is threatening to take over
yet another generation in the wake of Billy's death. This is a wrenching and complex
story that is both difficult to read and impossible to put down and I recommend it VERY
Friday, June 5, 2009
Another cool thing about this book: it's published by Unbridled Books, who are from right here on the Front Range.
Don't just take my word on it: It's an Indie Next Pick. And below are more reviews from booksellers across the country.
"The flashbacks are beautiful and haunting. The pacing is impeccable, the characters are intriguing and well developed. The details the author chooses to highlight are poetic and evocative, and the paragraphs are well crafted. And the way that Mandel ties together all the threads is extremely impressive for a debut novel. What more could a reader want?" - Emily Pullen, Skylight Books, Los Angeles
"Mandel’s debut novel follows Christopher - a private eye still working on a case he is no longer being paid for, Eli - a student of dead languages writing a thesis so overdue no one thinks he’ll ever finish it and Michaela- a night club dancer who tries not to sleep and longs for a life as a tight rope walker. All of their lives swirl around the appearances and disappearances of Lilia, whose character gains an almost mythical status with each person she leaves behind. Beginning the night her father took her away in the snow as a little girl Lilia has always been leaving where ever she is, wanting nothing more than to slip through the cracks of the world, leaving no trace and no one who will remember her after she is gone. The genius of Mandels’ writing is not just the beautiful prose she employs, (do yourself a favor and read the first few pages aloud) it’s that she manages to portray the deeply interconnected lives the characters have with Lilia even though they almost never appear on the page together. By interspersing the character’s stories with flashback chapters that slowly uncover Lilia’s past and her connections to each person Mandel has crafted a beautiful novel with elements of mystery and a little of Kerouac’s On The Road. This is a wonderful read!" - Chris Rickert, Joseph-Beth Bookstore, Pitsburgh, PA