Pull Me Under by Kelly Luce
A Novel

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...Luce pulls the story back and makes it about a flip side of death. While that scenario is moving, it never properly connects back to the original death in the book, that of Rio's mother.
-NPR

Synopsis

A searing debut novel from one of the most imaginative minds in fiction

Kelly Luce's Pull Me Under tells the story of Rio Silvestri, who, when she was twelve years old, fatally stabbed a school bully. Rio, born Chizuru Akitani, is the Japanese American daughter of the revered violinist Hiro Akitani--a Living National Treasure in Japan and a man Rio hasn't spoken to since she left her home country for the United States (and a new identity) after her violent crime. Her father's death, along with a mysterious package that arrives on her doorstep in Boulder, Colorado, spurs her to return to Japan for the first time in twenty years. There she is forced to confront her past in ways she never imagined, pushing herself, her relationships with her husband and daughter, and her own sense of who she is to the brink.

The novel's illuminating and palpably atmospheric descriptions of Japan and its culture, as well its elegantly dynamic structure, call to mind both Ruth Ozeki's A Tale for the Time Being and David Guterson's Snow Falling on Cedars. Pull Me Under is gripping, psychologically complex fiction--at the heart of which is an affecting exploration of home, self-acceptance, and the limits of forgiveness.

 

About Kelly Luce

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Kelly Luce is the author of Three Scenarios in Which Hana Sasaki Grows a Tail (2013), which won Foreword Reviews's 2013 Editor's Choice Prize for Fiction and was a finalist for book prizes from the Texas Institute of Letters and the Writers' League of Texas. Her work has been honored by fellowships from the MacDowell Colony, Ragdale, Jentel Arts, Tin House, and the Sewanee Writer's Conference, and has recently appeared in O, The Oprah Magazine, the Chicago Tribune, Electric Literature, New England Review, American Short Fiction, and other publications. She was a Fellow at the Michener Center for Writers at the University of Texas at Austin, where she received her MFA. She lives in Northern California.
 
Published November 1, 2016 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux. 272 pages
Genres: Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Literature & Fiction. Fiction
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Critic reviews for Pull Me Under
All: 3 | Positive: 0 | Negative: 3

Kirkus

Below average
on Aug 16 2016

A potentially interesting story sapped of interest by slow pacing and lack of character development.

Read Full Review of Pull Me Under: A Novel | See more reviews from Kirkus

Publishers Weekly

Above average
on Apr 27 2017

...though a structure heavy on flashback undercuts too much of the drama. But the final act is the novel’s strongest and most confident, weaving the book’s threads together and leaving a lasting reverberation.

Read Full Review of Pull Me Under: A Novel | See more reviews from Publishers Weekly

NPR

Above average
Reviewed by Bethanne Patrick on Nov 02 2016

...Luce pulls the story back and makes it about a flip side of death. While that scenario is moving, it never properly connects back to the original death in the book, that of Rio's mother.

Read Full Review of Pull Me Under: A Novel | See more reviews from NPR

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