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01/28/2015 7:00 pm
“From the first page, you know Rebecca Scherm is the real thing.”--Tana French
In a grubby antiques shop on the outskirts of Paris, Grace restores bric-a-brac, mends teapots, re-sets gems. She calls herself Julie, says she’s from California, and slips back to a rented room at night. From an anonymous internet café, she checks the website of her hometown paper.
Back in Garland, Tennessee, two young men are about to be paroled. Both have served time for a crime about which Grace knows a great deal. Their daring escapade went bad, but not before Grace made it onto a plane--contraband in her carry-on--and began methodically disassembling the known facts of her life. Now she knows that somehow, a piece of her past will find her. As the story unfolds, taking us from small-town USA to the heights and depths of the art scene in New York and Europe, we learn who Grace has been: a girl with a messy, broken home life and a knack for making herself loveable--until she comes face to face with what she actually wants, and everything falls apart. And so begins a cat-and-mouse waiting game, a tale of lies and deception, desperate stakes and dual identities.
Mesmerizing, atmospheric, and psychologically nuanced, Unbecoming reinvents the heist plot and takes up the making of a femme fatale—this time, from a woman’s point of view.
“Rebecca Scherm's wonderful novel Unbecoming has a mesmerizing narrator, Grace, who discovers that her gift (and it is a real gift) is for deceit. A thriller, a psychological study, and a love story, this novel is an unusually intelligent and suspenseful book. The dark arts have rarely been so brightly lit.”--Charles Baxter
Rebecca Scherm holds an MFA from the Helen Zell Writers Program at the University of Michigan, where she currently teaches. Her work has appeared in Subtropics, The Hairpin, Hobart, and Fiction Writers Review. Unbecoming is her first novel. Learn more at www.rebeccascherm.com.
There's no shortage of sequels in the summertime. In fact, a few of our staff's favorite novels are soon to pick up right where they left off...
Enon (Now in Paperback), Paul Harding's follow-up novel to his Pulitzer Prize-winning Tinkers, explores the grief of protagonist Charlie Crosby (grandson of Tinkers character George Crosby) over the loss of his daughter. Peter Recommends
10:04 (Available 9/2), a meta-sequel to Ben Lerner's breakout debut (winner of the 2012 Believer Book Award) Leaving the Atocha Station, finds our unnamed author/narrator under contract with a major publisher, but no more certain how to face the future and the prospect of fatherhood in a city that might soon be underwater. Colin Recommends
Lila (Available 10/7), the last of three novels by Marilynne Robinson set in the fictional plains town of Gilead, Iowa, tells the hardscrabble story of Lila, wife of minister John Ames. Robinson's preceding novels Gilead (2004) and Home (2008) received the Pulitzer and Orange Prizes, respectively. Jean Recommends
"Writing did give me a means to grieve publicly, to make others aware of my loss, in a way that wouldn’t have gone over so well if I had just randomly stood up in the middle of a cafe once a month and proclaimed, 'hello, strangers, allow me to tell you about my dead father and how sad I am about it!'"
Sean Bishop talks about life, death, and Carson Daly. Bishop reads from The Night We’re Not Sleeping In on Friday, November 21, with poets Su Smallen and Kara Condito. Click here for more information. Click here for the complete interview.
Common Good Books is pleased to unveil the first in a series of limited edition t-shirts, not available wherever books are sold.
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