Lidia Yuknavitch revisits the aching wound of her stillborn child in The Small Backs of Children. While fiction, this moving novel reads like nonfiction — it is so personal. Yuknavitch has the rare and almost magical ability to write beautifully about things that are horrific. Gathering together the stories of several characters, each playing a part in an elaborate plot to save their friend, Yuknavitch delivers a gorgeous, heartbreaking tale of friendship, guilt, redemption, and healing. Recommended By Dianah H., Powells.com
Synopses & Reviews
A masterful literary talent explores the treacherous, often violent borders between war and sex, love and art.
With the flash of a camera, one girl’s life is shattered, and a host of others altered forever...
In a war-torn village in Eastern Europe, an American photographer captures a heart-stopping image: a young girl flying toward the lens, fleeing a fiery explosion that has engulfed her home and family. The image wins acclaim and prizes, becoming an icon for millions—and a subject of obsession for one writer, the photographer's best friend, who has suffered a devastating tragedy of her own.
As the writer plunges into a suicidal depression, her filmmaker husband enlists several friends, including a fearless bisexual poet and an ingenuous performance artist, to save her by rescuing the unknown girl and bringing her to the United States. And yet, as their plot unfolds, everything we know about the story comes into question: What does the writer really want? Who is controlling the action? And what will happen when these two worlds—east and west, real and virtual—collide?
A fierce, provocative, and deeply affecting novel of both ideas and action that blends the tight construction of Julian Barnes's The Sense of an Ending with the emotional power of Anthony Marra's A Constellation of Vital Phenomena, Lidia Yuknavitch's The Small Backs of Children is a major step forward from one of our most avidly watched writers.
"Gorgeous, scary, and a breathtaking rush to read, this book is less a meditation than a provocation on the power and dangers of art." Library Journal (Starred Review)
"Lidia Yuknavitch's explosive new novel…is fierce in its vision, with captivating prose that carries its own momentum. Yuknavitch has created a reading experience that is uncomfortable and dazzling, with a vital intensity that grabs at the gutstrings." Los Angeles Times
"Yuknavitch is a gifted writer whose dizzying passages are often as compelling as they are grotesque." Kirkus Reviews
"An intensely corporal, potently feminist, tenaciously written work as alert to animal resilience as to the capacity for bruised and battered suffering, for desire, for ecstasy." Boston Globe
"I have never felt so wrung out by a novel and yet simultaneously invigorated…a terrifically good novel and powerfully written." Paris Review
About the Author
Lidia Yuknavitch is the author of the widely acclaimed memoir The Chronology of Water and the novel Dora: A Headcase. Her writing has appeared in the Atlantic, the Iowa Review, Mother Jones, Ms., the Sun, the Rumpus, PANK, Zyzzyva, Fiction International, and other publications. She teaches writing and literature in Portland, Oregon.