You Are One of Them

Raised by a paranoid mother who runs a disarmament campaign in the 1980s in Washington, D.C., ten-year-old Sarah takes it upon herself to write to Soviet premier Yuri Andropov. But it’s her best friend Jenny’s letter that reaches him, catapulting Jenny to international celebrity as the child who asked for peace between the two superpowers.

 

After a good will trip to Russia, Jenny and her parents are tragically killed in a plane crash—leading to endless conspiracy theories. Had they defected? Did the C.I.A. shoot down the plane? Years later, when Sarah receives a letter from a woman in Russia suggesting that Jenny might not be dead, she travels to Moscow to try to uncover the truth.

 

If you're hoping that this storyline means Elliott Holt's debut novel yields cloak-and-dagger thrills a la Ian Fleming or Robert Ludlum , you’ll have to look elsewhere. You Are One of Them begins with the specter of Sarah’s sister, dead from meningitis at the age of four. With their marriage in ruins, her father moves back to London and begins a new life with a second family. “When you’ve had as many people disappear from your life as I have, you start to wonder if you’re defective. You start to wonder if there’s somewhere better to go.” You Are One of Them does turn on mysteries,  but it's also a sorrowful rumination on loss. Holt's poignant title doesn't so much invoke  nefarious espionage but a fragmented family—once, you were one of us

July 26: On this day in 1602 "A booke called the Revenge of Hamlett Prince Denmarke" was entered in the Stationers' Register by printer James Robertes.

Crime fiction legends Dennis Lehane and Michael Connelly discuss the new book that unites their beloved sleuths Patrick Kenzie and Harry Bosch.

advertisement
Books, CDs, DVDs to know about now
Paradise and Elsewhere

Canadian short story marvel Kathy Page emerges as the Alice Munro of the supernatural from these heartfelt tales of shapeshifting swimmers, mild-mannered cannibals, and personality-shifting viruses transmitted through kisses.

Pastoral

When a persuasive pastor arrives in a sleepy farm town, his sage influence has otherworldly results (talking sheep, a mayor who walks on water). But can he pull off the miracle of finding kindly local Liz Denny the love of her life?  Small wonder looms large in this charmer from Andre Alexis.

The Hundred-Year House

When a poetry scholar goes digging through the decrepit estate of his wife's family to uncover a bygone arts colony's strange mysteries, he awakens a tenacious monster: his mother-in-law. A wickedly funny take on aging aristocracies from author Rebecca Makkai (The Borrower).