Rust and Stardust chronicles the kidnapping of the real girl who inspired Vladimir Nabokov's Lolita. In 1948, at 11 years old, Sally Horner is nabbed by a man claiming to be an FBI officer; he holds her for almost 2 years, and yes, it's as bad as you imagine. Greenwood's story, told from Sally's point of view, drives home the tamping down of anything close to a spirit that a victim experiences in this type of situation, along with the hopelessness inherent therein. Sally's outlook degenerates from anxious to disappointed to resigned, then slips quickly into sorrow and abject terror; while the author's meticulous research informs every steps of the ordeal. Greenwood manages to portray, so perfectly, every nuance of Sally's emotional state; the realization of the truth of her situation is a slow-boil awareness that finally explodes into understanding. An excellent storyteller, Greenwood weaves so much emotion through the bare bones of the real story of Sally Horner, it makes you utterly heart-sore for every child who survives such nightmares. Recommended By Dianah H., Powells.com
Synopses & Reviews
"Greenwood's glowing dark ruby of a novel brilliantly transforms the true crime story that inspired Nabokov's Lolita. Shatteringly original and eloquently written....So ferociously suspenseful, I found myself holding my breath." — Caroline Leavitt, New York Times bestselling author of Pictures of You
Camden, NJ, 1948. When 11 year-old Sally Horner steals a notebook from the local Woolworth's, she has no way of knowing that 52 year-old Frank LaSalle, fresh out of prison, is watching her, preparing to make his move. Accosting her outside the store, Frank convinces Sally that he's an FBI agent who can have her arrested in a minute — unless she does as he says.
This chilling novel traces the next two harrowing years as Frank mentally and physically assaults Sally while the two of them travel westward from Camden to San Jose, forever altering not only her life, but the lives of her family, friends, and those she meets along the way.
Based on the experiences of real-life kidnapping victim Sally Horner and her captor, whose story shocked the nation and inspired Vladimir Nabokov to write his controversial and iconic Lolita, this heart-pounding story by award-winning author T. Greenwood at last gives a voice to Sally herself.
"Unflinching but compassionate, Greenwood deftly unravels the devastating layers of malice and carelessness that tore Sally from her family, but also the love and perseverance that eventually brought her home." Bryn Greenwood, author of the New York Times bestseller All the Ugly and Wonderful Things
"Greenwood's glowing dark ruby of a novel brilliantly transforms the true crime story that inspired Nabokov's Lolita. Shatteringly original and eloquently written, Rust and Stardust is a lot about how what we believe to be true can shape or ruin a life, and the bright lure of innocence pitted against the murk of evil. So ferociously suspenseful, I found myself holding my breath, and so gorgeous and so unsettling in all the roads it might have taken, I kept rereading pages." Caroline Leavitt, New York Times bestselling author of Pictures of You and
Cruel Beautiful World
"A riveting and thoughtful exploration of how the dark secrets of a terrible crime affect and hurt so many — and how light and hope persist in the face of such horrors. Greenwood writes with such compassion and feeling, and she is such a confident, skillful storyteller, that you'll stay up late to find out the fates of her memorable, beautiful characters." Edan Lepucki, New York Times bestselling author of California and Woman No. 17
"Riveting suspense....Grace touches this dark tale....Greenwood's story will spellbind readers." Publishers Weekly
About the Author
T. Greenwood has received grants from the Sherwood Anderson Foundation, the Christopher Isherwood Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Maryland State Arts Council.
Two Rivers was named 2009 Best General Fiction Book at the San Diego Book Awards, and Grace received the same award for 2012. Her eighth novel, Bodies of Water, was a 2014 Lambda Literary Awards Finalist.
Greenwood teaches creative writing for San Diego Writer's Ink, Grossmont College, and online for The Writer's Center. She and her husband, Patrick, live in San Diego, CA, with their two daughters.