25 Books to Read Before You Die
 
 

Recently Viewed clear list


The Powell's Playlist | August 8, 2014

Peter Mendelsund: IMG The Powell's Playlist: Water Music by Peter Mendelsund



We "see" when we read, and we "see" when we listen. There are many ways in which music can create the cross-sensory experience of this seeing...... Continue »
  1. $11.87 Sale Trade Paper add to wish list

spacer

This item may be
out of stock.

Click on the button below to search for this title in other formats.


Check for Availability
Add to Wishlist

December

by

December Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

A spellbinding novel about a troubled young girl and a family in crisis, and a gripping, astonishing portrait of recovery and self-determination.

When December opens, 11-year-old Isabelle hasn't spoken a word in nearly a year. Four psychiatrists have abandoned her, declaring her silence to be impenetrable. Her parents are at once mystified and terrified by their daughter's withdrawal, and by their own gradually loosening hold on the world as they've always known it. Isabelle's private school, which has until now taken the extraordinary step of allowing her to complete her assignments from home, is on the verge of expelling her, forcing her parents to confront the possibility that what once seemed a quirk of adolescence, a phase, is perhaps a lifelong transformation, a swift and total retreat from which their daughter may never emerge. December paints an unforgettable picture of a family reckoning with a bewildering crisis, and of a critical month in the life of a bright, fascinating girl, locked into an isolation of her own making and from which only she can decide to break free.

Compulsively readable and deeply affecting, December is a work of marvelous originality and emotional power from a prodigiously gifted young writer.

Review:

"This story of a family in crisis builds in emotion until a spellbinding climax brings things to a realistic and satisfying close." Kellie Gillespie, Library Journal

Review:

"Winthrop, who grew up in New York before attending Harvard, where she graduated in 2001, displays an intimate, sometimes excruciatingly obsessive understanding of Isabelle's privileged Manhattan upbringing." Kirkus Reviews

Synopsis:

In this novel of spellbinding emotional power, 11-year-old Isabelle hasn't spoken in eight months. As characters spiral desperately around Isabelle's impenetrable silence, she herself emerges, in a fascinating, boldly original portrait of an exceptional child.

Synopsis:

A spellbinding novel about a troubled young girl and a family in crisis, and a gripping, astonishing portrait of recovery and self-determination.

When December opens, eleven year old Isabelle hasnt spoken a word in nearly a year. Four psychiatrists have abandoned her, declaring her silence to be impenetrable. Her parents are at once mystified and terrified by their daughters withdrawal, and by their own gradually loosening hold on the world as theyve always known it. Isabelles private school, which has until now taken the extraordinary step of allowing her to complete her assignments from home, is on the verge of expelling her, forcing her parents to confront the possibility that what once seemed a quirk of adolescence, a phase, is perhaps a lifelong transformation, a swift and total retreat from which their daughter may never emerge. December paints an unforgettable picture of a family reckoning with a bewildering crisis, and of a critical month in the life of a bright, fascinating girl, locked into an isolation of her own making and from which only she can decide to break free.

Compulsively readable and deeply affecting, December is a work of marvelous originality and emotional power from a prodigiously gifted young writer.

About the Author

Elizabeth Hartley Winthrop was born and raised in New York City. She graduated Phi Beta Kappa and summa cum laude from Harvard University in 2001 with a B.A. in English and American Literature and Language. In 2004 she received her M.F.A. in fiction from the University of California at Irvine, where she was the recipient of the Schaeffer Writing Fellowship for the 2004-5 academic year. She is the author of the novel Fireworks, and has published stories in Wind, the Evansville Review, the Missouri Review, Red Rock Review, and the Indiana Review. Currently, she is living and writing in Savannah, Georgia.

What Our Readers Are Saying

Add a comment for a chance to win!
Average customer rating based on 2 comments:

MonkeyMia, July 25, 2008 (view all comments by MonkeyMia)
December is a gripping novel that uses descriptive human behavior to tell a story of a little girl who has not spoken in nearly a year. The characters' realistic lives will possess your mind from the first page to the last page. Psychologically suspenseful, tearfully sad and intelligently humorous, this book will entertain a readers appetite. I love this book, I love the writer, and it left me wanting more. Buy it.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(44 of 81 readers found this comment helpful)
LibbyBean, July 16, 2008 (view all comments by LibbyBean)
Winthrop sounds like a child writing about an adult world she cannot yet fathom.

She begins the book describing Wilson, a central character, on his 42nd birthday, "He feels the same as he always has, all his life, same as he did as a kid stalking through the woods with a BB gun or a young man drunk at a keg party, and so sometimes he doesn't recognize the city business man he's become..."

Nobody at 42 with a marriage, a dependent child and a big job don't feels the way s/he always has. Life just shifts a person's mind, and Winthrop doesn't have any insight into how time and parenthood inexorably alter everyone without a personality disorder to stunt their development. Her forays into the minds of her adult characters are very naive imaginings.

She's bit off more than she can chew and should write about what she knows...which may not be much yet.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(40 of 87 readers found this comment helpful)
View all 2 comments

Product Details

ISBN:
9780307268303
Publisher:
Knopf
Subject:
Sick children
Author:
Elizabeth Hartley Winthrop
Author:
Elizabeth Hartley Winthrop
Subject:
Mute persons
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
Domestic fiction
Subject:
Psychological fiction
Publication Date:
20080617
Binding:
Hardback
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
256
Dimensions:
9.48x6.56x.99 in. 1.08 lbs.

Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z

December
0 stars - 0 reviews
$ In Stock
Product details 256 pages Knopf Publishing Group - English 9780307268303 Reviews:
"Review" by , "This story of a family in crisis builds in emotion until a spellbinding climax brings things to a realistic and satisfying close."
"Review" by , "Winthrop, who grew up in New York before attending Harvard, where she graduated in 2001, displays an intimate, sometimes excruciatingly obsessive understanding of Isabelle's privileged Manhattan upbringing."
"Synopsis" by , In this novel of spellbinding emotional power, 11-year-old Isabelle hasn't spoken in eight months. As characters spiral desperately around Isabelle's impenetrable silence, she herself emerges, in a fascinating, boldly original portrait of an exceptional child.
"Synopsis" by , A spellbinding novel about a troubled young girl and a family in crisis, and a gripping, astonishing portrait of recovery and self-determination.

When December opens, eleven year old Isabelle hasnt spoken a word in nearly a year. Four psychiatrists have abandoned her, declaring her silence to be impenetrable. Her parents are at once mystified and terrified by their daughters withdrawal, and by their own gradually loosening hold on the world as theyve always known it. Isabelles private school, which has until now taken the extraordinary step of allowing her to complete her assignments from home, is on the verge of expelling her, forcing her parents to confront the possibility that what once seemed a quirk of adolescence, a phase, is perhaps a lifelong transformation, a swift and total retreat from which their daughter may never emerge. December paints an unforgettable picture of a family reckoning with a bewildering crisis, and of a critical month in the life of a bright, fascinating girl, locked into an isolation of her own making and from which only she can decide to break free.

Compulsively readable and deeply affecting, December is a work of marvelous originality and emotional power from a prodigiously gifted young writer.

spacer
spacer
  • back to top
Follow us on...




Powell's City of Books is an independent bookstore in Portland, Oregon, that fills a whole city block with more than a million new, used, and out of print books. Shop those shelves — plus literally millions more books, DVDs, and gifts — here at Powells.com.