The Beginners: Book summary and reviews of The Beginners by Rebecca Wolff

The Beginners

A Novel

by Rebecca Wolff

The Beginners by Rebecca Wolff X
The Beginners by Rebecca Wolff
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  • Published in USA  Jun 2011
    304 pages
    Genre: Novels

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Book Summary

The chilling, hypnotically beautiful story of a girl whose coming of age is darkened by the secret history of her small New England town.

Theo and Raquel Motherwell are the only newcomers to the sleepy town of Wick in fifteen-year-old Ginger Pritt's memory. Hampered by a lingering innocence while her best friend, Cherry, grows more and more embroiled with boys, Ginger is instantly attracted to the worldliness and sophistication of this dashing couple.

But the Motherwells may be more than they seem. As Ginger's keen imagination takes up the seductive mystery of their past, she also draws closer to her town's darker history - back to the days of the Salem witch trials - and every new bit of information she thinks she understands leads only to more questions. Who - or what - exactly, are the Motherwells? And what is it they want with her?

Both a lyrical coming-of-age story and a spine-tingling tale of ghostly menace, The Beginners introduces Rebecca Wolff as an exciting new talent in fiction.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

BookBrowse - Marnie Colton
"The Beginners starts strong, with elegant writing and a deliciously menacing aura, but it becomes increasingly convoluted and starts to unravel in the last hundred pages, ending with one of the murkiest, most disappointing conclusions to a novel that I've read in a long time. Instead of selecting an ending that would maintain some air of mystery while satisfying a few of the reader's questions, Wolff chooses a melodramatic climax and then tacks on an ambiguous epilogue. The teenage narrator's lofty precociousness quickly wears thin as well. Having read some of Wolff's poetry, I expected more, especially with the blurbs comparing her to Mary Gaitskill and Shirley Jackson."

Other Reviews
"Starred Review. Dread and desire hang deliciously over every page of Wolff's gothic tale of an adolescent New England girl's unlikely education." - Publishers Weekly

"Wolff's debut novel is an entertaining coming-of-age story, illuminating heroic femininity experienced in everyday life. This novel will appeal to readers who enjoyed Donna Tartt's The Little Friend or Goldberry Long's Juniper Tree Burning." - Library Journal

"A meticulous and pitch-perfect fever dream of adolescence, reminiscent of Shirley Jackson remixed by Mary Gaitskill." - Jonathan Lethem, author of The Fortress of Solitude and Chronic City

"Original, electric, and fearless... Every page of The Beginners shimmers with the intensity of language shaped around, aimed at, what can't be said or explained within the convention of a haunted New England town and its teenage antiheroine." - Kate Christensen, author of The Great Man and Trouble

"What a marvel, what a wonder, is this novel. It made me think of Rilke in collaboration with Emily Brontë... Ravishing." - Peter Straub, author of Shadowland and A Dark Matter

The information about The Beginners shown above was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's online-magazine that keeps our members abreast of notable and high-profile books publishing in the coming weeks. In most cases, the reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author of this book and feel that the reviews shown do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, please send us a message with the mainstream media reviews that you would like to see added.

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Author Information

Rebecca Wolff

Rebecca Wolff is an award-winning poet and founding editor of Fence and Fence Books. She received an MFA from the Iowa Writers' Workshop, and is the author of three books of poems; her work has appeared in The Nation, The Paris Review, and A Public Space. Wolff lives in Athens, New York. For more information, please visit her website at www.rebeccawolff.com.

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