“A nearly flawless performance—a beautifully constructed, elegantly written book, delicate in its perceptions, powerful in its impact.”—New York Times
The riveting story of four crucial days in the lives of four people sharing a rambling Victorian house, “lying low” and harboring secrets not meant to be shared
Theo Wait, a middle-aged former ballet dancer, and her brother, Anton, have taken in two boarders: beautiful Lynn, who never receives mail or visitors; and energetic and effusive Ouida, a Brazilian student and illegal alien who won’t let complicated bureaucratic wrangles and constant fear of deportation taint her vision of America as the land of opportunity.
A faked identity, a search for one of the FBI’s most wanted escaped prison convicts, and a Brazilian feast that spins out of control kick the plot into high gear. While each of these characters has been plagued by a sense of impending disaster, the terrible thing they’ve all been fearing comes from an entirely unexpected direction, shattering all of their lives.
Diane Johnson is the author of ten novels, including Le Mariage and Le Divorce, two books of essays, two biographies, and the screenplay for Stanley Kubrick’s classic film The Shining. She has been a finalist four times for the Pulitzer Prize and National Book… More about Diane Johnson
“A nearly flawless performance—a beautifully constructed, elegantly written book, delicate in its perceptions, powerful in its impact.”—Robert Towers, New York Times
“Clever and deftly observant.”—Newsweek
“In the California college town of Orris stands a rooming house owned by ballet teacher Theodora Wait, 60, and her brother Anton, a famous nature photographer. In summer residence are only two boarders, Ouida, a sweet-natured Brazilian member of the ‘World Messianity’ movement, and a quiet, private girl known to the others solely as ‘Lynn.’ Actually her name is Marybeth Howe, and she’s an FBI fugitive, having killed a scientist in a laboratory bombing six years before. Orris is a perfect refuge; Johnson’s eye for mendicant/hip/political manifestations makes this a piece of fine California reportage… A chamber novel, basically a quartet for four intelligences… the satisfactions—for the head especially—are substantial.”—Kirkus Reviews