The Truth About Celia by Kevin Brockmeier
A novel

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While playing alone in her backyard one afternoon, seven-year-old Celia suddenly disappears while her father Christopher is inside giving a tour of their historic house and her mother Janet is at an orchestra rehearsal.

Utterly shattered, Christopher, a writer of fantasy and science fiction, withdraws from everyone around him, especially his wife, losing himself in his writing by conjuring up worlds where Celia still exists—as a child, as a teenager, as a young single mother—and revealing in his stories not only his own point of view but also those of Janet, the policeman in charge of the case, and the townspeople affected by the tragedy, ultimately culminating in a portrait of a small town changed forever. The Truth About Celia is a profound meditation on grief and loss and how we carry on in its aftermath.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

About Kevin Brockmeier

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Kevin Brockmeier is the author of The Brief History of the Dead, The Truth About Celia, Things That Fall from the Sky, and two children's novels. He has taught at the Iowa Writers' Workshop. His stories have appeared in many publications, including The New Yorker, McSweeney's, and Oxford American, and have been anthologized in The Best American Short Stories, The O. Henry Prize Stories, and Granta's Best of Young American Novelists. He lives in Little Rock, Arkansas.
Published December 18, 2007 by Vintage. 242 pages
Genres: Education & Reference, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Truth About Celia

Kirkus Reviews

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Punctuating these stories of reassuring normalcy are Christopher’s profound and unassuageable grief and guilt, and, in a marvelously adept synthesis of narration (where comparisons to The Lovely Bones halt instantly), author Brockmeier assumes the role of his narrator and vice versa as the novel ...

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Publishers Weekly

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He describes the aftermath of Celia's disappearance from the perspective of the community at large, then turns Celia's story into a fantasy about an otherworldly green-skinned child, and finally imagines Celia in a new incarnation as a single mother called Stephanie.

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Book Reporter

While reading Kevin Brockmeier's debut novel, THE TRUTH ABOUT CELIA, I was struck by this question: how can a book that is so deeply despairing and so heartrendingly devastating be such a joy to read?

Jan 23 2011 | Read Full Review of The Truth About Celia: A novel

Entertainment Weekly

The narrator isn't 7-year-old Celia, whose disappearance is never explained, but her father, Christopher, a sci-fi/fantasy writer plagued by memories ''like millions of tiny ball bearings that send him slipping and tumbling off his feet.'' In his hopeful imaginings, Celia is brought back as a gr...

Jul 25 2003 | Read Full Review of The Truth About Celia: A novel


Christopher in particular has been unable to move on since that day, and has spent his time writing not only about that day but trying to give Celia’s story an ending, in order to give himself one as well.

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May 03 2008 | Read Full Review of The Truth About Celia: A novel


It’s a strange hybrid story, part John Cheever suburbia, part gothic ghost story.

May 03 2008 | Read Full Review of The Truth About Celia: A novel

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