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The Beginnersby Rebecca Wolff
Synopses & Reviews
The chilling, hypnotically beautiful story of a girl whose coming of age is darkened by the secret history of her small New England town. Theo and Raquel Motherwell are the only newcomers to the sleepy town of Wick in fifteen-year-old Ginger Pritt's memory. Hampered by a lingering innocence while her best friend, Cherry, grows more and more embroiled with boys, Ginger is instantly attracted to the worldliness and sophistication of this dashing couple.
But the Motherwells may be more than they seem. As Ginger's keen imagination takes up the seductive mystery of their past, she also draws closer to her town's darker history-back to the days of the Salem witch trials — and every new bit of information she thinks she understands leads only to more questions. Who — or what — exactly, are the Motherwells? And what is it they want with her?
Both a lyrical coming-of-age story and a spine-tingling tale of ghostly menace, The Beginners introduces Rebecca Wolff as an exciting new talent in fiction.
"Dread and desire hang deliciously over every page of Wolff's gothic tale of an adolescent New England girl's unlikely education. Ginger is imaginative, her nose always in a book, and not as advanced, sexually or socially, as her best friend, Cherry, who wants to talk to boys rather than play castle at the abandoned mill. Ginger's family, meanwhile, has lived in a state of near suspended animation since the death of her older brother. But when an odd young couple walk into the cafe where Ginger works, she has her own entre´ into a sophisticated world of frank sex talk and philosophical musings. The Motherwells, Raquel and Theo, say they are in town to research the town's past — witch trials, the legend of a town sunk beneath the reservoir — and they allow Ginger and Cherry, but mostly Ginger, into their strange cohort and a party to their sometimes alarming schemes. As Ginger starts avoiding most contact that does not involve the Motherwells, her shrinking world grows more sinister and seductive. Wolff conjures the state of smothering awe and fixation Ginger has for the Motherwells, and her twin needs to be wanted by them sexually and as a stand-in daughter lends a throbbing urgency to a novel as creepy as it is marvelous. (June)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright PWyxz LLC)
"A meticulous and pitch-perfect fever dream of adolescence, reminiscent of Shirley Jackson remixed by Mary Gaitskill." Jonathan Lethem, author of The Fortress of Solitude and Chronic City
"Original, electric, and fearless...Every page of The Beginners shimmers with the intensity of language shaped around, aimed at, what can't be said or explained within the convention of a haunted New England town and its teenage antiheroine." Kate Christensen, author of The Great Man and Trouble
"What a marvel, what a wonder, is this novel. It made me think of Rilke in collaboration with Emily Bronte?...Ravishing." Peter Straub, author of Shadowland and A Dark Matter
"[Wolff's] scrupulous honesty in exploring the supernatural-what sustains it, and what it can do for us — is frightening in itself; it's the product of a marvelous imagination, and it's what keeps us reading." Bookforum
Theo and Raquel Motherwell are the only newcomers to the sleepy town of Wick in fifteen-year-old Ginger Pritt’s memory. Hampered by a lingering innocence while her best friend, Cherry, grows more and more embroiled with boys, Ginger is instantly attracted to the worldliness of this dashing couple. But as Ginger’s keen imagination takes up the seductive mystery of their past, she is only left with more questions. Who—or what—exactly, are the Motherwells? And what is it they want with her? Both a lyrical coming-of-age story and a spine-tingling tale of ghostly menace, The Beginners introduces Rebecca Wolff as an exciting new talent in fiction.
About the Author
Rebecca Wolff is an award-winning poet and founding editor of Fence and Fence Books. She received an MFA from the Iowa Writers' Workshop, and is the author of three books of poems; her work has appeared in The Nation, The Paris Review, and A Public Space. Wolff lives in Athens, New York.
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