A dizzying, lush flight through the ecstasy and devastation of an incendiary romance and the grief that follows its loss.


In a whirlwind of queer eroticism, classical strings, and vernal sensuality, debut novelist Delabroy-Allard whips up a bracing portrait of consumptive love and mutual obsession.

A young mother and new teacher in Paris has found herself adrift, “living a life [she] never thought [she’d] live” following her husband’s sudden departure. Left to raise their young daughter alone, the unnamed narrator “walk[s] around like a ghost,” the sudden shift in identity rendering her vulnerable, transparent, thrust into "a period of latency." Drawing her back into the world and its fecund, proliferating springtime is Sarah, a woman she met at a New Year's party who has quickly woven herself into the fabric of the narrator’s life, sparking off a liminal hum of possibility that buzzes between them. Sarah, a successful violinist who darts in and out of the city on tour with her quartet, is too much in every respect—she drinks too much, smokes too many cigarettes, wears too much makeup, is too loud, too magnetic. In her faded and fragile state, the narrator absorbs Sarah's radiance until she too begins first to shine, then burn as their unsustainable passion increasingly erupts in violence and despair. Each time Sarah departs and returns, the narrator is torn apart and stitched back together, until finally she's worn too thin for further repair. While the cumulative effect of repetition can at times slow rather than drive the swell of the narrative's crescendo, overall the prose exerts a tidal pull, and the book's structure skillfully mirrors the story's atmosphere: The short vignettes that constitute Part I replicate the breathless swirl of the narrator's turbulent affair with Sarah while lengthening chapters throughout Part II reflect her descent into rambling dishevelment and a sense of being stuck in time. In this second half, the narrator flees Paris for Italy in a frantic attempt to resurrect herself from the ashes of her devastation when her relationship with Sarah finally collapses beneath the weight of its own fraught history.

A dizzying, lush flight through the ecstasy and devastation of an incendiary romance and the grief that follows its loss.

Pub Date: June 2, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-63542-985-5

Page Count: 176

Publisher: Other Press

Review Posted Online: April 13, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2020

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A whimsical fantasy about learning what’s important in life.

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An unhappy woman who tries to commit suicide finds herself in a mysterious library that allows her to explore new lives.

How far would you go to address every regret you ever had? That’s the question at the heart of Haig’s latest novel, which imagines the plane between life and death as a vast library filled with books detailing every existence a person could have. Thrust into this mysterious way station is Nora Seed, a depressed and desperate woman estranged from her family and friends. Nora has just lost her job, and her cat is dead. Believing she has no reason to go on, she writes a farewell note and takes an overdose of antidepressants. But instead of waking up in heaven, hell, or eternal nothingness, she finds herself in a library filled with books that offer her a chance to experience an infinite number of new lives. Guided by Mrs. Elm, her former school librarian, she can pull a book from the shelf and enter a new existence—as a country pub owner with her ex-boyfriend, as a researcher on an Arctic island, as a rock star singing in stadiums full of screaming fans. But how will she know which life will make her happy? This book isn't heavy on hows; you won’t need an advanced degree in quantum physics or string theory to follow its simple yet fantastical logic. Predicting the path Nora will ultimately choose isn’t difficult, either. Haig treats the subject of suicide with a light touch, and the book’s playful tone will be welcome to readers who like their fantasies sweet if a little too forgettable.

A whimsical fantasy about learning what’s important in life.

Pub Date: Sept. 29, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-52-555947-4

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2020

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Warning: Between lurid scenes of plague and paradise, whiplash may ensue.


A young woman finds herself at a Covid-induced crossroads in Picoult’s latest ultratopical novel.

Sotheby’s associate Diana O'Toole, age 29, and her surgical resident boyfriend, Finn, are planning a trip to the Galapagos in March 2020. But as New York City shuts down, Finn is called to do battle against Covid-19 in his hospital’s ICU and ER, while Diana, at his urging, travels to the archipelago alone. She arrives on Isabela Island just as quarantine descends and elects to stay, though her luggage was lost, her hotel is shuttered, and her Spanish is “limited.” What follows is the meticulously researched depiction Picoult readers have come to expect, of the flora and fauna of this island and both its paradisiacal and dangerous aspects. Beautiful lagoons hide riptides, spectacular volcanic vistas conceal deep pits—and penguins bite! A hotel employee known only as Abuela gives Diana shelter at her home. Luckily, Abuela’s grandson Gabriel, a former tour guide, speaks flawless English, as does his troubled daughter, Beatriz, 14, who was attending school off-island when the pandemic forced her back home. Beatriz and Diana bond over their distant and withholding mothers: Diana’s is a world-famous photographer now consigned to a memory care facility with early-onset Alzheimer’s, while Beatriz’s ran off with a somewhat less famous photographer. Despite patchy cellphone signals and Wi-Fi, emails from Finn break through, describing, also in Picoult’s spare-no-detail starkness, the horrors of his long shifts as the virus wreaks its variegated havoc and the cases and death toll mount. Diana is venturing into romantically and literally treacherous waters when Picoult yanks this novel off life-support by resorting to a flagrantly hackneyed plot device. Somehow, though, it works, thanks again to that penchant for grounding every fictional scenario in thoroughly documented fact. Throughout, we are treated to pithy if rather self-evident thematic underscoring, e.g. “You can’t plan your life….Because then you have a plan. Not a life.”

Warning: Between lurid scenes of plague and paradise, whiplash may ensue.

Pub Date: Nov. 30, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-984818-41-6

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Ballantine

Review Posted Online: Jan. 12, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2022

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