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The Huntersby Claire Messud
Synopses & Reviews
"A Simple Tale" is the moving account of Maria Poniatowski, an aging Ukrainian woman who was taken by the Germans for slave labor and eventually relocated to Canada as a displaced person. She struggles to provide her son Radek with every opportunity, but his eventual success increases the gulf between him and his mother. What of the past is she to preserve, and how to avoid letting the weight of that past burden the present? Maria's story is about the moments of connection and isolation that are common to us all.
"The Hunters," the second novella, is narrated by an American academic spending a summer in London who grows obsessed by the neighbors downstairs. Ridley Wandor, a plump and insipid caretaker of the elderly, lives with her ever-unseen mother and a horde of pet rabbits she calls "the hunters." While the narrator researches a book about death, all of Ridley Wandor's patients are dying. Loneliness breeds an active imagination. Is having such an imagination always destructive? Or can it be strong enough to create a new reality?
Far-flung settings and universal themes give a sweeping appeal to Claire Messud's work.
"These two fine and remarkable novellas, each a modest tour de force, are sure to advance Messud's critical standing and to broaden her readership." Publishers Weekly
"Messud's short novels are well written, intense examinations of isolation that will appeal to readers of literary fiction." Library Journal
"As smart as they are affecting, these stories aren't novels: it's in their brevity that they loom so large." Kirkus Reviews
About the Author
Claire Messud, born in 1966, was educated at Yale and Cambridge. Her first novel, When the World Was Steady, was a finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award in 1996. Her second novel, The Last Life, received widespread positive critical attention, and has been translated into seven languages. She lives in Northampton, Massachusetts.
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