The death of her teenage sister sends 13-year-old Nico, along with her parents, into a gigantic tailspin. All three are shocked into immobility and pain, and turn to dangerous diversions. Nico finds herself submitting uncomfortably to the strange requests of her sister's boyfriend. Francine Prose is a writer of epic proportions, and she turns this seemingly depressing story into an exquisite, spare, quiet coming-of-age tale that will stay with you. Recommended By Dianah H., Powells.com
Synopses & Reviews
At the center of Francine Prose's profoundly moving new novel is a young girl facing the consequences of sudden loss after the death of her sister. As her parents drift toward their own risky consolations, thirteen-year-old Nico is left alone to grope toward understanding and clarity, falling into a seductive, dangerous relationship with her sister's enigmatic boyfriend.
Over one haunted summer, Nico must face that life-changing moment when children realize their parents can no longer help them. She learns about the power of art, of time and place, the mystery of loss and recovery. But for all the darkness at the novel's heart, the narrative itself is radiant with the lightness of summer and charged by the restless sexual tension of teenage life.
Goldengrove takes its place among the great novels of adolescence, beside Henry James's The Awkward Age and L. P. Hartley's The Go-Between.
"In Prose's deeply touching and absorbing 15th novel, narrator Nico, 13, comes upon Gerard Manley Hopkins's 'Spring and Fall' (which opens 'Margaret, are you grieving/ Over Goldengrove unleaving?') in her father's upstate New York bookstore, also named Goldengrove. It's the summer after her adored older sister, Margaret possessed of beauty, a lovely singing voice and a poetic nature casually dove from a rowboat in a nearby lake and drowned. In emotive detail, Nico relates the subsequent events of that summer. Nico was a willing confidant and decoy in Margaret's clandestine romance with a high school classmate, Aaron, and Nico now finds that she and Aaron are drawn to each other in their mutual bereavement. Unhinged by grief, Nico's parents are distracted and careless in their oversight of Nico, and Nico is deep in perilous waters before she realizes that she is out of her depth. Prose eschews her familiar satiric mode. She fluidly maintains Nico's tender insights into the human condition as Nico comes to discover her own way of growing up and moving on. (Sept.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Marshaling magnetic characters, hidden history, suspense, and acute insight into the transmutation of anguish into compassion, Prose plunges through the scrim of melodrama to reach the realm of myth, in a ravishing novel of the mystery of death and life's assertion." Booklist (Starred Review)
"As a lucid and moving chronicle of growing up baffled and challenged, this novel is energized by a thoughtful quality of impertinent wit that sometimes recalls J. D. Salinger in his heyday..." Kirkus Reviews
"[T]his highly accessible novel, lightened with wry humor, is an insightful examination of the various ways people use imagination and memory to cope with devastating loss." Library Journal
The New York Times-bestselling author of Reading Like a Writer returns with an emotionally powerful novel about love and loss filled with echoes of the classics Vertigo and Pygmalion.
Goldengrove is an emotionally powerful novel about adolescent love and loss from Francine Prose, the New York Times bestselling author of Reading Like a Writer and A Changed Man. Focusing on a young girl facing the consequences of sudden loss after the death of her sister, this masterful coming-of-age work is radiant with the possibility of summer and charged by the restless sexual tension of teenage life.
About the Author
Francine Prose is the author of twenty works of fiction. Her novel A Changed Man won the Dayton Literary Peace Prize, and Blue Angel was a finalist for the National Book Award. Her most recent works of nonfiction include the highly acclaimed Anne Frank: The Book, The Life, The Afterlife, and the New York Times bestseller Reading Like a Writer. The recipient of numerous grants and honors, including a Guggenheim and a Fulbright, a Director's Fellow at the Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers at the New York Public Library, Prose is a former president of PEN American Center, and a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Her most recent book is Lovers at the Chameleon Club, Paris 1932. She lives in New York City.