Monday, May 7, 2012

First Time Novelist, Long Time Fan

A friend of mine introduced me to Leni Zumas's collection of short stories, Farewell Navigator, and I was blown away by the eerie and hypnotic style and voice that carried the collection from beginning to end.  
  "I have never read stories like these before and I can't get them    out of my head. Her language is real sorcery—it dismantles the world you think you know and takes you to strange, fecund territories of the imagination. Sentence by sentence, Zumas creates worlds so vivid and fever-bright that you forget you're reading words on a page and begin to see real plums, scars, black stars lashed to the bottom of canoes. Her characters are girls and boys in bad trouble, who feel as close to you and as far from you as the black sheep in your own family."
 —Karen Russell, St. Lucy's Home for Girls Raised by Wolves
That is as well said as anyone can describe the feel of Farewell Navigator. It is a dark and captivating world. So imagine my excitement when I saw a copy of The Listeners from Tin House Books. This is Leni Zumas's first novel and it is fantastic. This is the story of Quinn a thirty-something treading water in life and quickly tiring.  Her past haunts her constantly and creates the disappointing reality that her life has become.  Despite the hopelessness you see in Quinn you cannot help but love her and root for her. It is tragedy and incredible writing that drives this story, weaving together the past and present, creating a powerful and emotional novel.

You will not be disappointed by this novel (or her short stories) from a new and exciting author. I am already looking forward to whatever Leni Zumas will write next!

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