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Those Who Knew Those Who Knew is one of the most timely on point works of fiction for this eraWith the opening pages of Idra Novey’s sopho novel Those Who Knew you will be hooked into the story of politics intrigue masculine abuse secrets and liesOn an unnamed island exactly one week after the death of a young woman is ruled “accidental” Lena discovers in her purse a shirt that she is convinced belonged to the young woman Maria Her friend bookshopweed store owner Olga tries to convince Lena that she only is imagining things But Lena suspects the girl was pushed in front of the train by an up and coming Senator Victor with whom Lena once had a liaison and during which time Victor uite nearly killed Lena in a fit of rage As the story progresses we learn of Victor and the machinations of his rise to power We meet Victor’s brother Freddie a gay playwright who also suspects Victor The beginning of the book is filled with twists and turns and intrigue and is told from multiple points of view One would think that it would get confusing or scrambled however the deft writing skills of Novey smoothly transition from one person to the next one thought to another beautifullyThe latter portion of the book reads differently from the first as the characters examine their past actions what they have done; what they might have done differently and how those different actions might have affected a different outcome It is here in which the beauty of the book resonates and the true talent of the author shines I gladly would read this book multiple times over and again just to have the pleasure of reading the second half with its beautiful proseThose Who Knew is succinctly written and is uite uick of a read and yet there is so much power and such a weighty message within so few pages that you will be left wondering how that could and also wanting Idra Novey is considered an “up and coming” American writer – I daresay that with Those Who Knew she has arrived there alreadyThank you #Edelweiss VikingBooks and IdraNovey for my advanced copy of this book Those Who Knew is available for pre order now and will be published November 6 2018 25 rounded upFor much of Novey's sopho novel I was intrigued and reading uickly to find out how all the myriad and provocative plot threads would resolve themselves interweave and form a cohesive whole Unfortunately the novel just ENDS with no resolution and without anything making much sense Things which SEEMED to be important in the beginning the sweater the death of Maria P just fade away as do most of the subseuent happenings Perhaps that was the entire intention that the world is so crazy that NOTHING makes sense but I felt deeply cheated by the non ending which unfortunately drove this from a strong 4 rating during most of it down to a 25 by the end While I appreciated this novel's ambition and stylistic difficulty the non linear telling the slipping identities the political plot the elision of place names and the setting in an unnamed Latin American ish island nation I can't say I actually liked the book I actually don't understand what it was about which is to say it was about many things but I have trouble integrating the ideas So I'm surprised at the novel's recent publicity that seems to center on the bad man storyline it has been called the definitive #MeToo novel? I suspect the readers of that Entertainment Weekly article are going to find themselves bewildered when they attempt to read this For me it veered off in so many directions tangents that were never explored and never uite cohered It may be an issue of style I recall being a little nonplussed while reading Novey's similarly stylized novel Ways to Disappear a couple years ago This is one of the most exhilarating novels I’ve read in ages It’s an astonishingly perfect mosaic—intricate gorgeous—on the topic of corruption which feels both timely and timeless It forms the most complete picture I’ve ever read of this subject providing the reader with direct access into the minds of would be revolutionaries washed up revolutionaries those with good intentions and those without those who’ve lost their way sexy egomaniacs blundering outsiders and many It’s a uick read that reverberates long after you put it down It is BEAUTIFULLY WRITTEN with the deftness of a playwright the sensitivity of a translator the fine touch of a poet and the skill of a born storyteller“At the sight of Lena emerging from the bookstore Oscar nearly dropped his biscuits The day was not uite as stingy with its light today A few sunbeams punctured the thinning clouds which he hoped was the reason Lena was suinting so intently and not because she was debating whether to acknowledge him”“After her release from the valley’s rehab center she had assumed that her stay with the newly returned Lena would last a few months at most Yet somehow a year had gone by as uiet and green as the fields of the valley and she was still playing grandma in the afternoons still smoking with Lena in the evenings on the porch watching the light sift through the trees At breakfast they took turns being the ornery one at the table It was the rare morning now that Olga even considered a joint while still in bed There was really no predicting where or when the least lonely years of one’s adult life might begin”“Oscar closed the door to his daughter’s room and crept toward the living room thinking of the tigers they’d seen the previous weekend at the zoo the irrelevance of their stealth moving toward nothing but the bars at the opposite end of their single tree seven rock savannah He always felt far freer in his first seconds creeping toward the sofa than he did when he reached it just to sprawl there reading headlines on his phone like some animal slumbering with its eyes open”I couldn’t recommend this book highly enough Packed with real wisdom and brutal honestly and heartwarming tenderness THOSE WHO KNEW will no doubt prove the best American novel of 2018 Idra Novey can write Her prose is beautiful and she plays with stylistic elements to create a wholly uniue reading experience Unfortunately I closed the cover on this nuanced work feeling somewhat confused I got itI think but there was a lot going on not all of which was clear to me I blame me 3 stars Such a brilliant book of our now Politics plus figurative and literal political ghosts connect or ensnaring the lives of an expertly rendered cast of characters The result is as enraging as it is inspiring Between this novel and WAYS TO DISAPPEAR Idra is now one of my favorite contemporary writers From the award winning author of Ways to Disappear a taut timely novel about what a powerful politician thinks he can get away with and the group of misfits who finally bring him downOn an unnamed island country ten years after the collapse of a US supported regime Lena suspects the powerful senator she was involved with back in her student activist days is taking advantage of a young woman who's been introducing him at rallies When the young woman ends up dead Lena revisits her own fraught history with the senator and the violent incident that ended their relationshipWhy didn't Lena speak up then and will her family's support of the former regime still impact her credibility What if her hunch about this young woman's death is wrongWhat follows is a riveting exploration of the cost of staying silent and the mixed rewards of speaking up in a profoundly divided country Those Who Knew confirms Novey's place as an essential new voice in American fiction I consider myself very very lucky that I got to read an early copy of this highly anticipated book I loved Ways to Disappear Novey's second novel enchanted in a different way it made me ponder what we let people get away with and why Political and poetic 5 out of 5So very much my kind of novel I loved what Novey did with the structure dropping in scenes from plays and clippings from newspapers and I loved the content of the novel itself a propulsive look at toxic masculinity in politics at American intervention in Latin America at the scars we leave behind us that we might not even be conscious of And the writing my god It's playful even as it is serious and the book practically dances along perhaps due to the short chapter lengths I never wanted to put it down Let me begin with my ending Idra Novey's Those Who Knew is beautiful classically shaped compulsively readable an all too relevant exploration of the moral and ethical conundrums of our troubled times as lavishly wrought as poetry rendered in sensational moving prose a page turner work of art layered like prescient pentimento Get your hands on a copy of Those Who Knew as soon as you can move it to the top of your TBR pile and glory in it And be warned you'll find yourself re reading and underlining and discovering new colors and richnesses every timeI don't want to bury the lede in a gushing paean about the genius of Idra Novey and the compelling convulsive brilliance of Those Who Knew so I'll start by saying this is a novel that tears into the scariest most alarming layers of the post November 2016 Zeitgeist using provocatively imaginative plotting told in gloriously structured prose and form somehow shaping a story in the classic style while making it too as current and titillating and terrifying as the improbable nightmare reality show hell that is now masuerading as real life as limned by the nightly newsLongshort or rather short before I get to the long No matter what kind of reader you are lover of literary fiction fan of fast paced thrillermysteries poetry current events Idra Novey effortlessly packs them all into less than 250 artfully composed pages fulfilling the promise of her first novel Ways to Disappear proving herself to be one of our most gifted and essential writers Precisely a week after the death of Maria P was declared an accident a woman reached into her tote bag and found a sweater inside that didn't belong to herThus begins the novel Lena finds this sweater and is unable to shed it And then perhaps because she had once risked her life in a similar garment and still regarded that time as the pivotal aspect of who she was she lifted the sweater over her head and pulled it onLena doesn't want to be burdened by the sweater nor by what she suspects is the truth about Maria P's death but like a tattoo on the soul Lena knows she can't erase what she knows or what that knowing and her past have made of her and so she puts the sweater onMost people know there is a credibility gap between the people we wish to be or wish to appear to be and the truth of who we are and in the current toxically divisive environment the magnitude of that gap we've come to expect and accept as normal has grown catastrophically monstrously vastIdra Novey's new novel Those Who Knew click here for website is a profoundly insightful and richly intricately tessellated exploration about how we rationalize sins of compromise and silence excuse our own complicity in the undermining of the social contract and civility and how by doing so we tacitly sanction continued corruption and crime committed by those in power who exploit abuse and calculatedly oppress and demonize those members of society already marginalized and disadvantaged by gender identity race socio economic stratum sexual identity and other class identifiersBut Those Who Knew isn't an exercise in polemical hyperbole; it's a reasoned all too believable glimpse into the lives minds and relationship dynamics of those in power who abuse that power and those others on the periphery or outside who are afraid to unwilling to or unable to stop the rot Too the novel explores those ways in which people become complicit in the spread of the immorality epidemic committing or allowing repugnant acts and behavior and excusing them by citing the greater good which all too often means benefit and enrichment for me and those like meLena's discovery of the sweater which looks just like one worn in newspaper photos by Maria P whose death we learned in the novel's first paragraph was declared accidental seems to Lena a message from the dead girl who had worked with Victor a senator and champion of liberal causes who as a young activist had been involved with Lena and in a rage violently assaulted her She had a sweater then much like the one of Maria P's which somehow has shown up in her bagWe follow Lena's struggle with what to reveal of what she knows how to determine what is knowledge and what is intuition or suspicion and how to navigate those spaces between is and might be truth and spin day to day practical reality and wished for Utopia and what is her responsibility in these matters?Lena now a university instructor confides in Olga a former revolutionary who witnessed the torture of her fellow revolutionary lover S to whom she now writes daily journals while she operates a bookstore dealing in the used volumes that were buried literally and figuratively during Olga's revolutionary years when rule of this un named country was hijacked by a dictatorialfascist sort Cato And uietly Olga also deals pot from the bookstore a structure without running water no internet and spotty phone coverage Hold on Olga said into her cordless phone I can't hear you I'm back in Poetry Her reception was far better up in Conspiracy near the front windows She could hear clearly enough at the register too where she rang up the occasional book and yes also sold a formidable amount of weedThat passage contains a multitude of carefully shaped impressions its language evocative of a mood a place a person absolutely specific and its concluding few words sold a formidable amount of weed in juxtaposition with the earlier rang up the occasional book are so stunningly rightIdra Novey writes with the precision and care of a poet able in a few carefully chosen words to convey what would take others witness me spending 900 words already and not yet adeuately explaining how fantastic this book is many many paragraphs if they ever managed to achieve it She combines efficiency and specificity with a luxuriance of language and imagery so well it very nearly ualifies as sorceryOlga is wary of Lena standing up to Victor fearing the conseuences Meanwhile Victor is contriving a marriage with Cristina the daughter of a power broker in his political party in order to distract from his connection to the dead girl but besides Lena Victor's own brother Freddy a gay playwright has his own suspicions about Victor's culpability And from this cast of characters and others added along the way radiates a web of connections complications conspiracies of silence deceits for reasons both good and not so good and a labyrinth of loves connections relationships resentments desires plots grudges and all the stuff of human interaction in a complicated society in a difficult ageBut again I've failed to convey the gift Idra Novey has for fashioning a remarkably compelling read inside of which is a richness of metaphor parallels and extraordinary languagePages 29 and 30 are a short section in which Victor escapes to a place where he feels safe unencumbered the docks where real men shout at one another as they operate heavy machinery Only this day the docks are full of people who didn't belong there Women and teenagersDoddering old men with binoculars He's informed the crowds have been attracted by a pair of whales mating The man who tells him this has an eye that doesn't focus correctly Victor is not up to dealing with peculiar faces right now and no expletive whales And from that beginning develops a blossoming of images; a group of teenage boys eating chocolate bars a giant one of which makes an appearance in one of his brother's plays and talking about whale boners and the self revulsion this wakens in Victor and the way it reminds him of his brother to whom it had been excruciating to stiffen and deny Freddy an answer to will a growing distance and much later in the novel Victor will end up on Freddy's couch hiding an erection and again travel to the docks looking for escape but once disturbed by those who he believes don't belong and he'll respond in a way disastrous in an echo and expansion of this early scene this two tight pages in which language repeats and escalates and doubles back on itself full of whispers and hints of that which is below the surfaceLike I said at the start Idra Novey's writing is beautiful classically shaped compulsively readable an all too relevant exploration of the moral and ethical conundrums of our troubled times as lavishly wrought as poetry rendered in sensational moving prose a page turner work of art layered like prescient pentimento Get your hands on a copy of Those Who Knew as soon as you can move it to the top of your TBR pile and glory in it And be warned you'll find yourself re reading and underlining and discovering new colors and richnesses every time

  • Hardcover
  • 248 pages
  • Those Who Knew
  • Idra Novey
  • English
  • 02 June 2016
  • 9780525560432

About the Author: Idra Novey

Idra Novey is the author of the novel Those Who Knew a Best Book of 2018 with NPR Esuire BBC Real Simple O magazine Kirkus Reviews and a New York Times Editors' Choice Her first novel Ways to Dis­ap­pear received the 2017 Sami Rohr Prize the 2016 Brooklyn Library Literary Prize and was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for First Fiction Her fic­tion and poetry have been tr