Synopses & Reviews
Set in the frozen wasteland of Midwestern academia, The Lost Journals
of Sylvia Plath introduces Wilson A. Lavender, father of three,
instructor of women's studies, and self-proclaimed genius who is
beginning to think he knows nothing about women. He spends much of his
time in his office "not" working on his dissertation, a creative piece
titled The Lost Journals of Sylvia Plath. A sober alcoholic, he also
spends much of his time "not" drinking, until he hooks up with his
office mate, Alice Cherry, an undercover stripper who introduces him to
the buffer — the chemical solution to his woes.
Wilson's wife, Katie,
is an anxious hippie, genuine earth mother, and recent PhD with no
plans other than to read People magazine, eat chocolate, and seduce
her young neighbor — a community college student who has built a bar in
his garage. Intelligent and funny, Katie is haunted by a violent
childhood. Her husband's tortured genius both exhausts and amuses her.
The Lavenders' stagnant world is roiled when Katie's pregnant sister,
January, moves in. Obsessed with her lost love, 80s rocker Stevie Flame,
January is on a quest to reconnect with her glittery, big-haired past. A
free spirit to the point of using other people s toothbrushes without
asking, she drives Wilson crazy.
Exploring the landscape of family
life, troubled relationships, dreams of the future, and nightmares of
the past, Knutsen has conjured a literary gem filled with humor and
sorrow, Aqua Net and Scooby-Doo, diapers and benzodiazepines — all the
detritus and horror and beauty of modern life.
"Knutsen explores questions of identity and the muddiness of dependency
within families....Ultimately Knutsen
exposes her characters' harshest, most authentic selves as they confront
the conflict between responsibility and desire." Booklist
"An ambitious first novel." Kirkus Reviews
"A blend of tragicomedy and waning romance, The Lost Journals of Sylvia
Plath explores uncomfortable material. Sharply drawn, claustrophobic
settings and strong personalities add up to a promising academic novel." Foreword Reviews
"A joyous exploration of pain and the price that comes with the refusal to settle, this is a stunning first novel." Chicago Book Review
About the Author
Kimberly Knutsen is professor of English at Concordia University in
Portland, Oregon. A graduate of the Iowa Writers Workshop, she holds a
PhD in English from Western Michigan University and an MA from New
Mexico State University. Her short stories have appeared in Cimarron
Review and Hawai'i Review.