An intimate, insightful, intricately rendered story of intergenerational trauma and love.

SEND FOR ME

A Jewish woman escapes from Germany with her husband and baby daughter on the cusp of World War II. Decades later, can her granddaughter escape the lingering effects of her family’s trauma?

A terrifying knock on the door. A pounding heart. A woman clutches her baby in the dark, seeks out the “reassuring shape” of her sleeping husband, then thinks, “They will take him, too. They’ll take all of it, everything and everyone she has ever loved. In an instant. A flash.” Fox’s partly historical novel about a German Jewish family riven on the cusp of the Holocaust begins with this nightmare. While readers are immediately reassured that, for the woman, Annelise, fear will recede and life will go on, a sense of foreboding shadows this bittersweet intergenerational tale of love and trauma, casting it in poignant chiaroscuro. Fox’s novel—subtle, striking, and punctuated by snippets of family letters—tracks Annelise, who works alongside her devoted, kindhearted parents in their family bakery in a small German city, from first love to first heartbreak to marriage to motherhood. Against Annelise’s warm, quiet, tasteful domestic existence swirl the anger, ugliness, and brutality of growing anti-Semitism, ultimately crashing into it in the form of a brick thrown through a window. Annelise is lucky to escape to America with her husband, child, and a close friend. But although she is able to find safety and start a life in a new place with her young family, her parents are not so lucky. Cut to modern-day Milwaukee: Annelise’s granddaughter, Clare, is a young woman held fast by familial love, loyalty, and history as she struggles to move toward romantic love, independence, a sense of purpose. When Clare discovers a neglected cache of family letters and has them translated, she begins to see the invisible emotional scars she carries and to understand how the sadness and pain in her family’s past may be impeding her own future happiness. Fox has imbued this deeply personal, ultimately hopeful novel, which she explains in an author’s note is based on her own family’s story, with emotion, empathy, and an essential understanding of the complicated bonds between generations and the importance of reckoning with the past in order to embrace the future.

An intimate, insightful, intricately rendered story of intergenerational trauma and love.

Pub Date: Feb. 2, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-101-9478-07

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: Jan. 13, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2021

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A compelling portrait of a marriage gone desperately sour.

THE MYSTERY OF MRS. CHRISTIE

In December 1926, mystery writer Agatha Christie really did disappear for 11 days. Was it a hoax? Or did her husband resort to foul play?

When Agatha meets Archie on a dance floor in 1912, the obscure yet handsome pilot quickly sweeps her off her feet with his daring. Archie seems smitten with her. Defying her family’s expectations, Agatha consents to marry Archie rather than her intended, the reliable yet boring Reggie Lucy. Although the war keeps them apart, straining their early marriage, Agatha finds meaningful work as a nurse and dispensary assistant, jobs that teach her a lot about poisons, knowledge that helps shape her early short stories and novels. While Agatha’s career flourishes after the war, Archie suffers setback after setback. Determined to keep her man happy, Agatha finds herself cooking elaborate meals, squelching her natural affections for their daughter (after all, Archie must always feel like the most important person in her life), and downplaying her own troubles, including her grief over her mother's death. Nonetheless, Archie grows increasingly morose. In fact, he is away from home the day Agatha disappears. By the time Detective Chief Constable Kenward arrives, Agatha has already been missing for a day. After discovering—and burning—a mysterious letter from Agatha, Archie is less than eager to help the police. His reluctance and arrogance work against him, and soon the police, the newspapers, the Christies’ staff, and even his daughter’s classmates suspect him of harming his wife. Benedict concocts a worthy mystery of her own, as chapters alternate between Archie’s negotiation of the investigation and Agatha’s recounting of their relationship. She keeps the reader guessing: Which narrator is reliable? Who is the real villain?

A compelling portrait of a marriage gone desperately sour.

Pub Date: Dec. 29, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4926-8272-1

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark

Review Posted Online: Sept. 30, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2020

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A haunting fable of a lonely, moribund world that is entirely too plausible.

KLARA AND THE SUN

Nobelist Ishiguro returns to familiar dystopian ground with this provocative look at a disturbing near future.

Klara is an AF, or “Artificial Friend,” of a slightly older model than the current production run; she can’t do the perfect acrobatics of the newer B3 line, and she is in constant need of recharging owing to “solar absorption problems,” so much so that “after four continuous days of Pollution,” she recounts, “I could feel myself weakening.” She’s uncommonly intelligent, and even as she goes unsold in the store where she’s on display, she takes in the details of every human visitor. When a teenager named Josie picks her out, to the dismay of her mother, whose stern gaze “never softened or wavered,” Klara has the opportunity to learn a new grammar of portentous meaning: Josie is gravely ill, the Mother deeply depressed by the earlier death of her other daughter. Klara has never been outside, and when the Mother takes her to see a waterfall, Josie being too ill to go along, she asks the Mother about that death, only to be told, “It’s not your business to be curious.” It becomes clear that Klara is not just an AF; she’s being groomed to be a surrogate daughter in the event that Josie, too, dies. Much of Ishiguro’s tale is veiled: We’re never quite sure why Josie is so ill, the consequence, it seems, of genetic editing, or why the world has become such a grim place. It’s clear, though, that it’s a future where the rich, as ever, enjoy every privilege and where children are marshaled into forced social interactions where the entertainment is to abuse androids. Working territory familiar to readers of Brian Aldiss—and Carlo Collodi, for that matter—Ishiguro delivers a story, very much of a piece with his Never Let Me Go, that is told in hushed tones, one in which Klara’s heart, if she had one, is destined to be broken and artificial humans are revealed to be far better than the real thing.

A haunting fable of a lonely, moribund world that is entirely too plausible.

Pub Date: March 2, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-31817-1

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: Nov. 27, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2020

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