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The Burning Girl: Book summary and reviews of The Burning Girl by Claire Messud

The Burning Girl

by Claire Messud

The Burning Girl by Claire Messud X
The Burning Girl by Claire Messud
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  • Published in USA  Aug 2017
    256 pages
    Genre: Novels

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Book Summary

A bracing, hypnotic coming-of-age story about the bond of best friends, from the New York Times best-selling author of The Emperor's Children

Julia and Cassie have been friends since nursery school. They have shared everything, including their desire to escape the stifling limitations of their birthplace, the quiet town of Royston, Massachusetts. But as the two girls enter adolescence, their paths diverge and Cassie sets out on a journey that will put her life in danger and shatter her oldest friendship. The Burning Girl is a complex examination of the stories we tell ourselves about youth and friendship, and straddles, expertly, childhood's imaginary worlds and painful adult reality - crafting a true, immediate portrait of female adolescence.

Claire Messud, one of our finest novelists, is as accomplished at weaving a compelling fictional world as she is at asking the big questions: To what extent can we know ourselves and others? What are the stories we create to comprehend our lives and relationships? Brilliantly mixing fable and coming-of-age tale, The Burning Girl gets to the heart of these matters in an absolutely irresistible way.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. Emotionally intense and quietly haunting." - Kirkus

"Starred Review. Messud's entrancing, gorgeously incisive coming-of-age drama astutely tracks the sharpening perceptions of an exceptionally eloquent young woman navigating heartbreak and regret and realizing that one can never fathom 'the wild, unknowable interior lives' of others, not even someone you love." - Booklist

"The Woman Upstairs was a clever, audacious portrayal of an untrustworthy protagonist. Informed by the same sophisticated intelligence and elegant prose, but gaining new poignant depths, this novel is haunting and emotionally gripping." - Publishers Weekly

"Despite some drawbacks, the narrative has broad appeal for teens and adults alike." - Library Journal

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Author Information

Claire Messud Author Biography

Photo © Derek Shapton

Claire Messud’s first novel, When the World Was Steady, and her book of novellas, The Hunters, were finalists for the PEN/Faulkner Award; her second novel, The Last Life, was a Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year and an Editor’s Choice at The Village Voice. All three books were New York Times Notable Books of the Year. She has been awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship and a Radcliffe Fellowship, and is the current recipient of the Strauss Living Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. She lives in Somerville, Massachusetts, with her husband and children.

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Other books by Claire Messud at BookBrowse
  • The Woman Upstairs jacket
  • The Emperor's Children jacket
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