Nine Island: Book summary and reviews of Nine Island by Jane Alison

Nine Island

by Jane Alison

Nine Island by Jane Alison X
Nine Island by Jane Alison
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  • Published in USA  Sep 2016
    244 pages
    Genre: Novels

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Book Summary

"Nine Island is a crackling incantation, brittle and brilliant and hot and sad and full of sideways humor that devastates and illuminates all at once." - Lauren Groff, author of Fates and Furies

Nine Island is an intimate autobiographical novel, told by J, a woman who lives in a glass tower on one of Miami Beach's lush Venetian Islands. After decades of disaster with men, she is trying to decide whether to withdraw forever from romantic love. Having just returned to Miami from a month-long reunion with an old flame, "Sir Gold," and a visit to her fragile mother, J begins translating Ovid's magical stories about the transformations caused by Eros. "A woman who wants, a man who wants nothing. These two have stalked the world for thousands of years," she thinks.

When not ruminating over her sexual past and current fantasies, in the company of only her aging cat, J observes the comic, sometimes steamy goings-on among her faded-glamour condo neighbors. One of them, a caring nurse, befriends her, eventually offering the opinion that "if you retire from love ... then you retire from life."

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. [A] haunting and emotionally precise portrait, a beautiful reminder that solitude does not equal loneliness." - Publishers Weekly

"Alison (The Sisters Antipodes, 2009) offers shrewd and clever commentary on the sexual and sensual needs of mature women, an oft-overlooked aspect of the aging process, in this canny and nimble novel." - Booklist

"Evocative, sad, at times funny, and never completely without hope, a story that studies what it means to be alone later in life." - Kirkus

"Nine Island is a crackling incantation, brittle and brilliant and hot and sad and full of sideways humor that devastates and illuminates all at once." - Lauren Groff, author of Fates and Furies

"Nine Island is a nerve-jangling book full of the giddy wit of the emotionally starving, the unfulfillable desire of being in love with being in love, and the weirdly sexy conversation of souls in free fall." - David Shields, author of Reality Hunger and How Literature Saved My Life

"This deceptively slim narrative, as witty and mercurial as any tale from Ovid, circles deftly around love and desire, pain and death, joy and solitude and the relentless nature of change. I fell into it as into water, transformed by the magic of Alison's prose." - Andrea Barrett, author of The Air We Breathe and Archangel

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Author Information

Jane Alison

Jane Alison is the author of a memoir, The Sisters Antipodes, and three novels - The Love-Artist, The Marriage of the Sea, and Natives and Exotics - and the translator of Ovid's stories of sexual transformation, Change Me. She is Professor and Director of Creative Writing at the University of Virginia, and lives in Charlottesville. Learn more at janealison.com.

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