Familiar by J. Robert Lennon
A Novel

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In the scientific shadows, Lennon has executed a literary puzzle, a marvelous trick of the mind.
-LA Times

Synopsis

A haunting, enigmatic novel about a woman who is given a second chance—and isn't sure whether she really wants it * A Publishers Weekly "Indie Sleeper" * A Powell's Indiespensable Pick * The Nervous Breakdown's October Book Club Pick *

Elisa Brown is driving back from her annual, somber visit to her son Silas's grave when something changes. Actually, everything changes: her body is more voluptuous; she's wearing different clothes and driving a new car. When she arrives home, her life is familiar—but different. There is her house, her husband. But in the world she now inhabits, Silas is no longer dead, and his brother is disturbingly changed. Elisa has a new job, and her marriage seems sturdier, and stranger, than she remembers. She finds herself faking her way through a life she is convinced is not her own. Has she had a psychotic break? Or has she entered a parallel universe? Elisa believed that Silas was doomed from the start, but now that he is alive, what can she do to repair her strained relations with her children? She soon discovers that these questions hinge on being able to see herself as she really is—something that might be impossible for Elisa, or for anyone. In Familiar, J. Robert Lennon continues his profound and exhilarating exploration of the surreal undercurrents of contemporary American life.

 

About J. Robert Lennon

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J. Robert Lennon is the author of seven novels, including Castle and Mailman, and a story collection, Pieces for the Left Hand. His fiction has appeared in The Paris Review, Granta, Harper's Magazine, Playboy, and The New Yorker. He lives in Ithaca, New York, where he teaches writing at Cornell University.
 
Published October 2, 2012 by Graywolf Press. 224 pages
Genres: Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Literature & Fiction, Self Help, Romance, Parenting & Relationships. Fiction
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Critic reviews for Familiar
All: 4 | Positive: 4 | Negative: 0

NY Times

Good
Reviewed by Kevin Brockmeier on Dec 07 2012

What makes it greater than that is the insight it displays — sometimes moving, sometimes horrific — into the mind of a woman who requires the machinery of science fiction...

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Guardian

Good
Reviewed by Justine Jordan on Sep 20 2013

Understated, shocking, odd and yet so very familiar, Familiar addresses the themes that resound through "the strange, enormous, echo-filled room[s]" of our lives.

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Guardian

Good
Reviewed by Anthony Cummins on Aug 17 2013

If Familiar is a motiveless rush of pure predicament, his great achievement is that it's also a meditation on family and identity likely to stir brain and heart alike.

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LA Times

Excellent
Reviewed by Carolyn Kellogg on Oct 07 2012

In the scientific shadows, Lennon has executed a literary puzzle, a marvelous trick of the mind.

Read Full Review of Familiar: A Novel | See more reviews from LA Times

Reader Rating for Familiar
57%

An aggregated and normalized score based on 66 user ratings from iDreamBooks & iTunes


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