Nine Island by Jane Alison

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With echoes of Molly Bloom’s soliloquy and Iris Murdoch’s The Sea, the Sea, Alison has forged a haunting and emotionally precise portrait, a beautiful reminder that solitude does not equal loneliness.
-Publishers Weekly

Synopsis

“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 monthlong 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.”
 

About Jane Alison

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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.
 
Published September 13, 2016 by Catapult. 244 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Literature & Fiction. Fiction
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Critic reviews for Nine Island
All: 2 | Positive: 2 | Negative: 0

Publishers Weekly

Excellent
on Jul 25 2016

With echoes of Molly Bloom’s soliloquy and Iris Murdoch’s The Sea, the Sea, Alison has forged a haunting and emotionally precise portrait, a beautiful reminder that solitude does not equal loneliness.

Read Full Review of Nine Island | See more reviews from Publishers Weekly

NY Times

Above average
Reviewed by Alix Ohlin on Oct 21 2016

“Nine Island” testifies to the fragility of a life that can vanish from sight, and to the sturdiness of one that maintains the capacity for change.

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