October 2008 Indie Next List
“What might have been a mournful story about a young girl's isolation and grief after the death of her sister becomes an uplifting portrait of love, survival, and coming of age. Prose's gorgeous writing and plotting make this an affecting and memorable novel.”
— Jeanne Regentin, Between the Covers, Harbor Springs, MI
At the center of Francine Prose's profoundly moving new novel is a young girl facing the consequences of sudden loss after the death of her sister. As her parents drift toward their own risky consolations, thirteen-year-old Nico is left alone to grope toward understanding and clarity, falling into a seductive, dangerous relationship with her sister's enigmatic boyfriend.
Over one haunted summer, Nico must face that life-changing moment when children realize their parents can no longer help them. She learns about the power of art, of time and place, the mystery of loss and recovery. But for all the darkness at the novel's heart, the narrative itself is radiant with the lightness of summer and charged by the restless sexual tension of teenage life.
Goldengrove takes its place among the great novels of adolescence, beside Henry James's The Awkward Age and L. P. Hartley's The Go-Between.
About the Author
Francine Prose is the author of twenty works of fiction. Her novel A Changed Man won the Dayton Literary Peace Prize, and Blue Angel was a finalist for the National Book Award. Her most recent works of nonfiction include the highly acclaimed Anne Frank: The Book, The Life, The Afterlife, and the New York Times bestseller Reading Like a Writer. The recipient of numerous grants and honors, including a Guggenheim and a Fulbright, a Director's Fellow at the Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers at the New York Public Library, Prose is a former president of PEN American Center, and a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. She lives in New York City.
“With perfect pitch and no trace of sentimentality, Prose . . . lands on the precise emotional key for this novel . . . allowing humor and compassion to seep through the cracks of an otherwise dark tale.”
-San Francisco Chronicle
“Ms. Prose is perceptive. . . . Her modest-sounding book turns out to be beautifully wrought.... and yields an unexpectedly rich, tart, eye-opening sense of Nico’s world.”
-New York Times
“With a dazzling mix of directness and metaphor, Prose captures the centrifugal and isolating force of grief...Prose exquisitely renders her characters’ grief and bafflement.”
-Los Angeles Times
“Arguably, “Goldengrove” is her best book yet.”
“Prose locates the life force that gives her narrator the quirky, irreverent but undeniable sound of a survivor. . . . Prose is tremendously skilled.”
“Francine Prose’s new novel is a quiet, clear-eyed, sun-dappled eulogy to lost youth, and a youth lost. . . . [Prose is ] a keen chronicler of human emotion.”
“A page-turner, thanks to its wholly identifiable, and perfectly flawed, young heroine. A-”
“A beautiful narrative that defines resilience as the sometimes heartbreaking act of simply living”
“A poignant account of growing up amid sorrow...a tender and moving story of adolescent love.”
“Prose holds up a mirror to grief and family life we can’t look away from, revealing their truths on page after page, in beautifully crafted writing.”
-Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
“Prose’s skillful rendering of the human ability to accept hard truths and move on is a poignant lesson for us all.”
“Insightful, lyrical... “Goldengrove” is beautifully and simply written...a moving portrait of the search for identity through a landscape of pain and loss.”
-St. Louis Post-Dispatch
“Beautifully crafted...perhaps her most emotionally satisfying novel.”
-Christian Science Monitor
“An exploration of the fragility of adolescent identity and the perilous undertow of grief”
“Prose creates characters with real flaws that make the reader both love and hate them. It is easy to put oneself in the position of any of the players...”
-Deseret Morning News
“Deeply touching and absorbing...”
“...emotionally authentic...a ravishing novel of the mystery of death and life’s assertion.”
-Booklist (starred review)