Imagine you're seven years old, and the only people you have contact with are your nine-year-old brother and a fiercely protective, paranoid mother who keeps you housebound to spare you from the plague she claims is destroying the entire population. Such is the strength of Jan Elizabeth Watson's writing, and the immediacy of Asta's narration, that you can't help but be drawn deep into the terrible reality of the book. Although we never meet the adult Asta, she narrates through the eyes of her seven-year-old self, reliving the year she discovers that everything she has been led to believe, by the person she loves most, is not true.
The year is 1978 and Asta has no memory of ever leaving their isolated Cape Cod in the town of Bond Brook, Maine, population 849. The house is completely locked and boarded, although she and her brother, Orion, have a small window to the world...
Beyond the Book
In homage to her obsession with movies, Asta's mother has named her after the wire-haired terrier in a series of six comic-detective films inspired by Dashiell Hammett's last novel, The Thin Man
. In the films, William Powell and Myrna Loy play Nick and Nora Charles, a witty couple who solve crimes, engage in snappy banter and imbibe numerous cocktails. The first movie (The Thin Man
, 1934) was nominated for four Oscars including Best Picture. The low-budget MGM film was shot in fourteen days and earned over $2 million. Its sequel, After the Thin Man
(1936), was the first sequel ever to be nominated for Best Picture.
In the Wings
When Asta and Orion accidentally fall...