‘A stunning debut – because there is nothing debut about it’ A.M. Homes
At 25, Joan Ashby is a literary sensation. Supremely focused, she is determined not to allow anything to distract her: then she surprises herself by falling in love with Martin. They are a perfect match in so many ways, including not wanting children – but after only a few months of marriage, an accidental pregnancy changes everything. Stunned by Martin’s delight, Joan makes a fateful, selfless decision.
Decades later, when she is finally poised to reclaim the spotlight, a betrayal of Shakespearean proportions forces Joan to question every choice she has made.
This magnificent novel introduces an indelible heroine, candid about her struggles and unapologetic in her ambition. Powerful, inventive, and dazzlingly written, it heralds the arrival of a major new talent.
‘An impressive prose stylist … inventive and engaging’ Daily Mail
‘Ambitious … intimate … a terrific twist midway through … That I got so worked up about a person who doesn’t exist is a testa¬ment to Wolas’s success in creating a complex and distinct fictional character. Joan Ashby is like no writer I have ever encountered; I’m sure, if she were real, she would be pleased to hear it’ New York Times Book Review
‘A stunning debut – because there is nothing debut about it. It arrives so fully realised that it stuns as it entertains, as it twirls the reader on the sharp point of a #2 pencil. Wolas is a writer in full command of some impressive powers – one might even call them special powers. There is a joyous embrace to her work – to her exploration of the life and mind of her main character, the author Joan Ashby. Ashby is so well rendered that I found myself jealous of her (and Wolas) and also wishing she were my best friend and that we had a standing drinks date. Wolas is singular in her voice – and yet the delicacy, the specificity reminds me of my most favorite authors: J.D. Salinger, Carson McCullers, Truman Capote, Joan Didion’ A.M. Homes
‘Epic in scale … an extraordinary, assured and deeply involving novel about marriage, motherhood, sacrifice and the creative impulse. Highly recommended’ Daily Mail
‘Astonishing … a gorgeous read, big and bold, intelligent and thought-provoking … an incredible book that reads nothing like a debut, so self-assured the writing, so expansive and wholly immersive the plot’ Independent, Ireland
‘A stunning debut novel … a wealth of superb writing, mature insights, and breathtaking risks … A rare book such as this comes along only once in a long while’ New York Journal of Books
‘Breathtaking … will do for motherhood what Gone Girl (2012) did for marriage. ‘A story requires two things: a great story to tell and the bravery to tell it,’ Joan observes. Wolas’ debut expertly checks off both boxes’ Booklist, starred review