Synopses & Reviews
An arresting new literary talent addresses the journey of light years-or is it a hop-from an island in Maine to the island of Manhattan Miranda's father has always seemed to her as obscure and elusive as the thick New England fog that surrounds their isolated island home. When she was three years old, her parents moved from Manhattan to tiny Crab Island off the coast of Maine so he could work on his translation of Ovid's Metamorphoses, Not long after, her mother took the boat out one day, disappeared into the fog, and never came back. Miranda grew up quickly and quietly in the lonely house, caring for her brilliant but troubled father and sustaining herself with fantasies that grew out of the ill-fated stories of lustful nymphs and vengeful gods that he read to her from his manuscript. Aside from a halfhearted friendship with one of the girls at her school, her only true friend was Mr. Blackwell-a fisherman who had helped her father adjust to life on the island all those years ago and whose relationship with her father is-like so much else about her father-complicated and shrouded in mystery. But when Miranda graduates from high school, her father announces that he has arranged for her to travel to New York to stay with friends from his old life, and Miranda embarks on a journey that will finally reveal the truth about her father's past and open up her world in ways she cannot begin to imagine. Sweeney's spare, essential writing brings the contrasts of stark, sea-misted Maine and the chaotic blur of Manhattan into striking relief. Hers is a haunting story about loneliness, about the isolation of island life, whether it's a deserted island off Maine or the overcrowded noisy island ofManhattan. Sweeney's remarkable ability to capture the peculiarities of a place and its inhabitants is astonishing, and her delicate rendering of Miranda's own metamorphosis elevates this novel from a typical coming-of-age story to a work of lasting literary value.
Critically acclaimed by reviewers across the country, Aoibheann Sweeney?s beautifully written debut novel is a story of the profound human need for intimacy. For Miranda, the adolescence spent in her fog-shrouded Maine home has been stark and isolated? alone with her troubled father, a man consumed with his work translating Ovid?s Metamorphoses
, her mother mysteriously gone from their lives. Now, having graduated from high school, Miranda?s father arranges for her to stay with old friends in Manhattan, and she embarks on a journey that will open up her father?s past?and her own world?in ways she cannot begin to imagine.
About the Author
Aoibheann Sweeney (pronounced /EVEN/ ) was a Henry Hoyns Fellow at the University of Virginia. She has written book reviews for The New York Times Book Review, The Washington Post Book World, and the Village Voice Literary Supplement. She is currently director of the Center for the Humanities at The Graduate Center, City University of New York.