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Tsitsi Dangarembga appears in court this week, just days after her novel This Mournable Body was shortlisted for the 2020 Booker Prize. Read more about her July protest during a government crackdown in Zimbabwe here


A Novel
J. Robert Lennon

Elisa Brown is driving back from her annual, somber visit to her son Silas’s grave when something changes. Actually, everything changes: her body is more voluptuous; she’s wearing different clothes and driving a new car. When she arrives home, her life is familiar—but different. There is her house, her husband. But in the world she now inhabits, Silas is no longer dead, and his brother is disturbingly changed. Elisa has a new job, and her marriage seems sturdier, and stranger, than she remembers. She finds herself faking her way through a life she is convinced is not her own. Has she had a psychotic break? Or has she entered a parallel universe? Elisa believed that Silas was doomed from the start, but now that he is alive, what can she do to repair her strained relations with her children? She soon discovers that these questions hinge on being able to see herself as she really is—something that might be impossible for Elisa, or for anyone. In Familiar, J. Robert Lennon continues his profound and exhilarating exploration of the surreal undercurrents of contemporary American life.

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A haunting, enigmatic novel about a woman who is given a second chance—and isn’t sure whether she really wants it

About the Author

J. Robert  Lennon
J. Robert Lennon is the author of eight novels, including Broken River, Familiar, Castle, and Mailman, and two story collections. His fiction has appeared in the Paris Review, Granta, Harper’s, Playboy, and the New Yorker. He lives in Ithaca, New York, where he teaches writing at Cornell University.
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  • “[An] allusive and mysterious novel . . . one of [Lennon’s] finest.”The New York Times Book Review
  • "This is an important book, one that reflects the 21st-century human's fragmentary condition in both content and form, told in a manner so thrilling that it achieves an almost magical propulsion."The Boston Globe
  • "Lennon has a gift for stretching the borders of character. . . . [Familiar is] a surrealistic tale about the enigma to be found in second chances."Kirkus Reviews
  • “[A] stealthy and thought-provoking literary thriller. . . . Lennon succeeds by setting his odd, uncommon narrative in intimate terms that delve into Elisa’s sense of confusion.” Publishers Weekly
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