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The Local Newsby Miriam Gershow
Synopses & Reviews
A deeply moving story of the complicated bond between brother and sister.
Going missing was the only interesting thing my brother had ever done.
Even a decade later, the memories of the year Lydia Pasternak turned sixteen continue to haunt her. As a teenager, Lydia lived in her older brother's shadow. While Danny's athletic skills and good looks established his place with the popular set at school, Lydia's smarts relegated her to the sidelines, where she rolled her eyes at her brother and his meathead friends and suffered his casual cruelty with resigned bewilderment. Though a part of her secretly wished for a return of the easy friendship she and Danny shared as children, another part of her wished Danny would just vanish. And then, one night, he did.
In the year following Danny Pasternak's disappearance, his parents go off the rails, his town buzzes with self-indulgent mourning, and his little sister Lydia finds herself thrust into unwanted celebrity, forced to negotiate her ambivalent — often grudging — grief for a brother she did not particularly like. Suddenly embraced by Danny's old crowd, forgotten by her parents, and drawn into the missing person investigation by her family's intriguing private eye, Lydia both blossoms and struggles to find herself during Danny's absence. But when a trail of clues leads to a shocking outcome in her brother's case, the teenaged Lydia and the adult she will become are irrevocably changed, even now as she reluctantly prepares to return to her hometown.
Relentlessly gripping, often funny, and profoundly moving, The Local News is a powerful exploration of the fraught relationship between a brother and sister and how our siblings define who we are.
"Bright, precocious but socially awkward Lydia Pasternak reports on the aftermath of her older brother's disappearance in Gershow's accomplished debut. Danny was everything Lydia wasn't: at ease with their parents, popular in school, physically imposing, beloved by the opposite sex. Danny went from being Lydia's playmate in their youth to her tormentor in high school, so his disappearance leaves Lydia with some very mixed feelings, one of which is relief. As time goes on and the weekend search parties prove more and more fruitless, Lydia struggles with the fact that her geeky best friend, David, has feelings for her; she also obsesses over the private investigator hired by the family and allows herself to be sucked into the social world Danny once dominated. Lydia's perspective gives this Lovely Bones - esque story line an unflinching quality as she details the emotional damage that reverberates even through her 10-year high school reunion. Gershow's psychologically acute grasp of the mundane, ugly details that accompany tragedy, combined with an understanding of the tragicomedy of high school, make for a stark and merciless narrative, leavened by Lydia's wry insights." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Unusually credible and precise...deftly heartbreaking." Janet Maslin, New York Times
"The Local News is the story of a life created around loss...Not a book you're likely to put down once started, nor to forget once finished, a remarkable achievement." Karen Joy Fowler, author of The Jane Austen Book Club
"[A] sad, bravely written story that elicits sympathy for the situation rather than any of the characters and demonstrates that not all tragedies have heroes. Heartily recommended..." Library Journal
"Gershow's writing is fluid, her imagery of the mid-'90s concise and compelling, and her story universal." School Library Journal
"The first chapter establishes an adult voice telling the story from a time far past the events detailed, in ways rich with emotion....Gershow, who lives in Eugene, draws on fabulous similes to build moments..." The Oregonian
"Lydia is a refreshingly not-at-all-beautiful, intelligent and witty narrator with a black sense of humor. Her story is unvarnished, lacking in white wash and grittily realistic. The Local News feels understated and elegant, and is highly recommended as an engrossing read." BookReporter.com
Relentlessly gripping, often funny, and profoundly moving, The Local News offers a powerful exploration of the fraught relationship between a brother and sister, revealing how our siblings define who we are.
When fifteen-year-old Lydia Pasternak's popular older brother Danny disappears late one summer night, she unwillingly becomes a celebrity in her community and an afterthought to her bereaved parents. In Danny's absence, Lydia blossoms from a bookish outcast to the center of attention, all while grappling with her grudging grief for a brother she never particularly liked. When an intriguing private investigator enters the picture, Lydia finds herself drawn into the search for clues to Danny's whereabouts. The shocking end to that trail of clues — an end that Lydia never prepares for — will haunt her for the rest of her life. An authentic and at times surprisingly funny dissection of public and private grief, The Local News is an accomplished, affecting debut.
About the Author
Miriam Gershow was a Fiction Fellow at the University of Wisconsin. Her stories have appeared in the Georgia Review, Black Warrior Review, and Quarterly West, among other journals. She lives in Eugene, Oregon.
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