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The Lines: Book summary and reviews of The Lines by Anthony Varallo

The Lines

by Anthony Varallo

The Lines by Anthony Varallo X
The Lines by Anthony Varallo
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Book Summary

Set in the summer of 1979, when America was running out of gas, The Lines tells the story of a family of four - the mother, the father, the girl, and the boy - in the first months of a marital separation.

Through alternating perspectives, we follow the family as they explore new territory, new living arrangements, and new complications. The mother returns to school. The father moves into an apartment. The girl squares off with her mother, while the boy struggles to make sense of the world. The Lines explores the way we are all tied to one another, and how all experience offers the possibility of love and connection as much as loss and change.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"A master of narrative control, Varallo creates the kind of page-turning suspense you don't expect in a book like this...A darkly cutting investigation of dysfunction in which the kids, more often than not, are way sharper than the parents." - Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

"Varallo weaves together a string of tragedies, though none of Shakespearean stature.There are no murdered uncles or assassinated kings or Caesars haunting the pages of this novel. The Lines instead examines mundane, every day tragedies." - Iowa-City Press Citizen

"In The Lines, a family reckons with divorce against the backdrop of the fuel crisis of the 1970s. Anthony Varallo renders this story vividly and tenderly and with great nuance. The Lines is moving and elegiac—a delight to read." - Nathan Englander, author, kaddish.com

"Varallo's attention to the music in the spare, lyrical voices of his characters is enough to put this novel on your must-read list. What he manages to create in the story of divorce in an ordinary family is a tale about grief, alienation, and ultimately compassion itself. Riveting." - Stephanie Powell Watts, author, No One is Coming to Save Us

"With charming language, familiar circumstances, and a taut narrative, this book evokes that point in time when every child suddenly realizes the adults around them don't really know what they're doing. That is the world we inherit, the world Varallo permits us to turn over in our hands, landmarked with curious relics of Americana wholly worth the gaze." - Venita Blackburn, author, Black Jesus and Other Superheroes

This information about The Lines 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

Anthony Varallo

Anthony Varallo is the author of a novel, The Lines, as well as four short story collections: Everyone Was There, winner of the Elixir Press Fiction Award; This Day in History, winner of the John Simmons Short Fiction Award; Out Loud, winner of the Drue Heinz Literature Prize; and Think of Me and I'll Know. Currently he is a professor of English at the College of Charleston, where he is also the fiction editor of Crazyhorse.

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