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Act of God: Book summary and reviews of Act of God by Jill Ciment

Act of God

by Jill Ciment

Act of God by Jill Ciment X
Act of God by Jill Ciment
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  • Published Mar 2015
    192 pages
    Genre: Literary Fiction

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Book Summary

It's the summer of 2015, Brooklyn. The city is sweltering from another record-breaking heat wave, this one accompanied by biblical rains.  Edith, recently retired legal librarian, and her identical twin sister, Kat, a feckless romantic who's mistaken her own eccentricity for originality, discover something ominous in their hall closet: it seems to be phosphorescent; it's a mushroom ... and it's sprouting from their wall.

Upstairs, their landlady, Vida Cebu, a Shakespearian actress far more famous for her TV commercials for Ziberax (the first female sexual enhancement pill) than for her stage work, discovers that a petite Russian girl, a runaway au pair, has been secretly living in her guest-room closet. When the police arrest the intruder, they find a second mushroom, also glowing, under the intruder's bedding. Soon the HAZMAT squad arrives, and the four women are forced to evacuate the contaminated row house with only the clothes on their backs.

As the mold infestation spreads from row house to high-rise, and frightened, bewildered New Yorkers wait out this plague (is it an act of God?) on their city and property, the four women become caught up in a centrifugal nightmare.

Part horror story, part screwball comedy, Jill Ciment's brilliant suspense novel looks at what happens when our lives - so seemingly set and ordered, yet so precariously balanced - break down in the wake of calamity.  A novel, as well, about love (familial and profound) and how it can appear from the most unlikely circumstances. 

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. This absorbing novel about a luminescent fungus affixes itself to your psyche like a spore and quickly spreads to your heart, setting everything in its wake aglow." - Kirkus

"This quick read is generally humorous and lighthearted in tone, despite the trauma it conveys. Though guilty of some nasty and unethical behavior, all the characters are able to achieve redemption by the end, which Ciment manages to achieve with minimal sappiness." - Library Journal

"Ciment writes with her usual stylistic grace, but the novel doesn't quite achieve a balance among its vaguely apocalyptic bent, its satirical moments, and the tepid sentimentalism at its core." - Publishers Weekly

This information about Act of God was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. Publication information is for the USA, and (unless stated otherwise) represents the first print edition. The reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author and feel that they do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, send us a message with the mainstream reviews that you would like to see added.

Any "Author Information" displayed below reflects the author's biography at the time this particular book was published.

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Author Information

Jill Ciment

Jill Ciment was born in Montreal, Canada. She is the author of four novels, The Tattoo Artist, Teeth of the Dog, The Law of Falling Bodies and Heroic Measures; a collection of short stories, Small Claims; and a memoir, Half a Life. Ciment is a professor of English at the University of Florida. She lives in Gainesville, Florida.

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