In the social media surrounding the book blogging world, people often celebrate “book birthdays” – the day a book is released to the public.
Today, Joshua Henkin’s novel The World Without You was born.
I was privileged to read an ARC of the novel several months ago, but decided to honor it on it’s actual birthday so you could readily get your hands on it.
The World Without You is the story of a modern family who gather at their summer home in the Berkshires on July 4, 2005, to memorialize their only son, Leo, a journalist who was kidnapped and killed while on assignment in Iraq. The novel looks at the way this event has affected each member of Leo’s family – his parents who struggle to make their 40 year marriage continue working; his three sisters (Clarissa who is dealing with infertility, Lily, an angry, hot tempered attorney; and Noelle, a born-again Orthodox Jew who has traveled from Israel with her husband and four children); and his wife, Thisbe, who brings Leo’s three year old son from California for this event.
As you might imagine, tensions abound in this very disparate group of people, bound together by blood and grief. Henkin is very good at examining personal and family relationships, at creating characters you can identify with and not only care about, but wonder about, and looking at the way a certain event changes them. He did it extremely well in his novel Matrimony, and he has succeeded in that effort once again with The World Without You.
Happy book birthday to a fine, new novel.