Harrow – Joy Williams
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In her first novel since The Quick and the Dead (nominated for the Pulitzer Prize), the legendary writer takes us into an uncertain landscape after an environmental apocalypse, a world in which only the man-made has value, but some still wish to salvage the authentic.
Khristen is a teenager who, her mother believes, was marked by greatness as a baby when she died for a moment and then came back to life.
After Khristen’s failing boarding school for gifted teens closes its doors, and she finds that her mother has disappeared, she ranges across the dead landscape and washes up at a resort on the shores of a mysterious, putrid lake the elderly residents there call Big Girl.
In a rotting honeycomb of rooms, these old ones plot actions to punish corporations and people they consider culpable in the destruction of the final scraps of nature’s beauty. What will Khristen and Jeffrey, the precocious ten-year-old boy she meets there, learn from this baggy seditious lot, in the worst of health but with kamikaze hearts, determined to refresh, through crackpot violence, a plundered earth?
Rivetingly strange and beautiful, and delivered with Williams’s searing, deadpan wit, Harrow is their intertwined tale of paradise lost and of their reasons—against all reasonableness—to try and recover something of it.
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