The Writing on the Wall: A Novel

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9781582432991: The Writing on the Wall: A Novel
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Thirty-four and decidedly independent, Renata has been known to keep her involvement with people, men in particular, to a minimum. Even her job at the library keeps her at a remove from the uncertainty of trusting other people with the stories of her past - of a dead twin sister, a betrayal, of family truths too painful to acknowledge. Instead she loses herself in language, ever measuring the integrity of words against lived experience. Jack's entry into her life - and the potential of a patient, solid, and sexy companion - begins to shake up her settled routine. Then as Renata leaves her apartment one bright September morning, and walks across the Brooklyn Bridge to work, the sky ahead bursts open and the landscape transforms without warning.

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About the Author:

Lynne Sharon Schwartz is the author of fourteen books, including Leaving Brooklyn (nominated for the PEN/Hemingway First Novel Award); In the Family Way: An Urban Comedy; Ruined by Reading; and most recently, Referred Pain. She lives in New York City.

From Publishers Weekly:

The aftermath of the World Trade Center attack provides a traumatic backdrop to Schwartz's latest novel (after In the Family Way), an intellectually evocative and emotionally trenchant exploration of troubled intimacy and the constitutive effects of language. Renata, a Brooklyn-based 30-something librarian with a gift for recondite tongues, is stymied in her promising affair with fellow Brooklynite Jack by her vows of "emotional celibacy," the result of a long history of family trauma, including the tragic death of her twin sister, Claudia, at age 16. When the Twin Towers are struck, Jack's assistant at his downtown social services agency perishes in the collapse, and he and Renata become the caretakers of her baby, Julio. As Renata develops an obsessive attachment to the baby as well to a mute stray teenager she names after her dead niece, Gianna (born just before Claudia's death), Schwartz artfully reveals the origins of Renata's psychic scars: the twins' overenmeshed relationship, the death of their father and institutionalization of their mother, plus Gianna's mysterious drowning. Renata's emotional wariness links to her suspicions of language in general, which are exacerbated by the president's verbal response to the terrorist attack. With Renata's complex balance of intellectual skepticism, emotional fragility and street smarts, Schwartz continues to show herself a rigorous novelist. (June)
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