Thursday, November 28, 2013

Antonia Lively Breaks The Silence by David Samuel Levinson

College towns in the summer are different.  Without the students there, the town sleeps and stirs lazily.  The energy level drops dramatically as everyone waits for the coolness of fall and the students' return. 

Catherine Strayed is living in such a town.  She works in a bookstore and works through the grief of losing her husband, Wyatt, a talented novelist.   Wyatt's novel was groundbreaking, but killed upon birth by an influential critic, Henry Swallow.  With the death of his novel's success came the death of Wyatt's career, and Catherine watched him struggle and finally give up.  The final blow was Henry's move to the college where Wyatt worked and the realization that he had to see him and work with him each day.

Everything changes when Antonia Lively blows into town.  She is the latest celebrity novelist, her debut hailed by everyone.  It doesn't hurt that she's Henry's latest protégé, and he can use his influence to move her career forward.  Her novel explores her own family's tragic history, and she sees nothing wrong with using such personal material.  Isn't that what novelists do?

The summer progresses with Catherine being drawn further into Henry and Antonia's lives.  There are so many motives and old stories intertwined that it is unclear who loves who and who are mortal enemies.  What neither Henry or Catherine know is that Antonia has determined what her next novel will explore and that is the complicated relationship that Wyatt, Catherine and Henry all had with each other.  Will this new excavation of pain prove fatal to Antonia?

David Samuel Levinson has written a complicated, plot-twisting novel that is sure to keep the reader turning pages.  The reader is as enthralled with the twist and turns of these individual's relationships as Antonia is, and it is impossible to turn away from the tragedy it is clear is coming.  This book is recommended for readers interested in authors' lives and those who love books about relationships.

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