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Asta in the Wings

by

Asta in the Wings Cover

ISBN13: 9780980243611
ISBN10: 0980243610
Condition: Standard
All Product Details

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Staff Pick

In Watson's captivating debut novel, the Hewitt family lives an isolated life in rural Maine. But when circumstances force them into society, they must reconcile their home life with the outside world, learning that isolation has many forms. A heartbreaking novel of otherness and normality.
Recommended by Sheila A., Powells.com

Review-A-Day

"'I feared a day when mother might forget to lock us in properly,' says seven-year-old Asta, narrator of Jan Elizabeth Watson's compact and captivating novel Asta in the Wings. It's the morning of "the last day, the day before everything changed," and her mother, Loretta, has just left for work, locking her children — Asta and nine-year-old Orion — into the house to protect them 'from the inscrutable outside world.'" Sheila Ashdown, Powells.com (read the entire Powells.com review)

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Asta in the Wings is the moving and often darkly funny story of Asta Hewitt, a resourceful seven-year-old and intrepid narrator growing up in an isolated house in Bond Brook, Maine. Shut off from the outside world and restricted to the company of a delusional mother and a bookish older brother, Asta is content to be part of a "society of three" constructing dramatic and fanciful worlds of their own. When circumstances push her into a strange outside world — with all of its discontents — Asta must find a way to assimilate while remaining true to herself and her fractured family. Jan Elizabeth Watson's debut novel puts her among the most promising new writers in the realm of imaginative literary fiction.

Review:

"With this, her excellent debut novel, Watson makes quick work of a setup that could prove challenging for even seasoned authors. Seven-year-old Asta grows up in rural Maine in the late 1970s, where she and her sickly nine-year-old brother, Orion, are kept locked in their house by their crazy mother, who fills their heads with tales of the plague-ravaged wasteland waiting outside their door. Equipped with little beyond what their mother provides, the children are wildly creative, surprisingly intelligent and share a deep bond with each other. But when their mother disappears and the two venture outside, they face the real world and real people for the first time. As Asta processes what's going on and is separated from her brother, she's reluctant to recognize what was wrong with her previous life. Asta's narration is full of the wonderment and matter-of-factness of youth, and her eye-opening trip into reality is flawlessly executed by Watson." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Review:

"Like Alice after tumbling down the rabbit hole, Asta takes us on a journey through a confounding world filled with remarkable characters. A compassionate tale mixed with hope and sorrow, Asta In the Wings evokes both the tenderness and the danger of one child's struggle to find a place for herself in a world she is only beginning to understand. It's a gem of a book." Aryn Kyle, author of The God of Animals

Review:

"In Asta in The Wings Jan Elizabeth Watson has created one of the most appealing fictional heroines I've encountered in a long time. Asta is brave, resourceful, intelligent, and loyal. She also happens to be seven years old, which means she's at the mercy of the unreliable adults who rule her world. The result is a vivid and suspenseful narrative where, over and over again, Asta shows us the world from her own very particular angle. A highly original debut." Margot Livesey, author of The House on Fortune Street

Review:

"Jan Elizabeth Watson's debut, Asta in the Wings, follows two mavens of make-believe — seven-year-old Asta and her nine-year-old brother, Orion — as they reckon with the brutal realities of the adult world in the wilds of rural Maine." BookForum

Review:

"The mysteries and ambiguities that Watson creates, raising questions and not trying to answer them, is what powers the novel." Nina MacLaughlin, The Portland Phoenix

About the Author

Jan Elizabeth Watson was born in Washington, D.C. and spent nearly a decade in New York City, where she received her MFA from Columbia University. She has worked extensively as an editor, copywriter, and adjunct professor of creative writing. She lives in Maine and has one child, a daughter. This is her first novel.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 3 comments:

ccqdesigns, September 12, 2010 (view all comments by ccqdesigns)
This is an amazing little book. I finished it in one sitting because once I got past the first 10 pages, I just couldn't put it down. Even though it deals with a sad and horrible subject of child abuse, It does it in a way that will bring smiles and laughter to your face. The strength and spirit that Asta has will give you a renewed believe in the spirit of survival.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
Denise Barnett, July 12, 2009 (view all comments by Denise Barnett)
A different kind of story told from the eyes of smart, funny, and heartbreaking little Asta. I felt her in my heart. Great book!
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
Erica Horne, April 7, 2009 (view all comments by Erica Horne)
Once I got involved, I couldn't put this book down. The author's imagination was so keen it was difficult to believe that this was not autobiographical. I have already recommended it to several friends.
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(1 of 2 readers found this comment helpful)
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780980243611
Author:
Watson, Jan Elizabeth
Publisher:
Tin House Books
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
Brothers and sisters
Subject:
Girls
Subject:
Mothers and daughters
Subject:
Domestic fiction
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade Paper
Series:
Tin House New Voice
Publication Date:
20090231
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
336
Dimensions:
7.25 x 5 in 11.5 lb

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Asta in the Wings Used Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$9.50 In Stock
Product details 336 pages Tin House Books - English 9780980243611 Reviews:
"Staff Pick" by ,

In Watson's captivating debut novel, the Hewitt family lives an isolated life in rural Maine. But when circumstances force them into society, they must reconcile their home life with the outside world, learning that isolation has many forms. A heartbreaking novel of otherness and normality.

"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "With this, her excellent debut novel, Watson makes quick work of a setup that could prove challenging for even seasoned authors. Seven-year-old Asta grows up in rural Maine in the late 1970s, where she and her sickly nine-year-old brother, Orion, are kept locked in their house by their crazy mother, who fills their heads with tales of the plague-ravaged wasteland waiting outside their door. Equipped with little beyond what their mother provides, the children are wildly creative, surprisingly intelligent and share a deep bond with each other. But when their mother disappears and the two venture outside, they face the real world and real people for the first time. As Asta processes what's going on and is separated from her brother, she's reluctant to recognize what was wrong with her previous life. Asta's narration is full of the wonderment and matter-of-factness of youth, and her eye-opening trip into reality is flawlessly executed by Watson." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Review A Day" by , "'I feared a day when mother might forget to lock us in properly,' says seven-year-old Asta, narrator of Jan Elizabeth Watson's compact and captivating novel Asta in the Wings. It's the morning of "the last day, the day before everything changed," and her mother, Loretta, has just left for work, locking her children — Asta and nine-year-old Orion — into the house to protect them 'from the inscrutable outside world.'" (read the entire Powells.com review)
"Review" by , "Like Alice after tumbling down the rabbit hole, Asta takes us on a journey through a confounding world filled with remarkable characters. A compassionate tale mixed with hope and sorrow, Asta In the Wings evokes both the tenderness and the danger of one child's struggle to find a place for herself in a world she is only beginning to understand. It's a gem of a book."
"Review" by , "In Asta in The Wings Jan Elizabeth Watson has created one of the most appealing fictional heroines I've encountered in a long time. Asta is brave, resourceful, intelligent, and loyal. She also happens to be seven years old, which means she's at the mercy of the unreliable adults who rule her world. The result is a vivid and suspenseful narrative where, over and over again, Asta shows us the world from her own very particular angle. A highly original debut."
"Review" by , "Jan Elizabeth Watson's debut, Asta in the Wings, follows two mavens of make-believe — seven-year-old Asta and her nine-year-old brother, Orion — as they reckon with the brutal realities of the adult world in the wilds of rural Maine."
"Review" by , "The mysteries and ambiguities that Watson creates, raising questions and not trying to answer them, is what powers the novel."
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