"We Were Miraculous:" Nina LaCour's We Are Okay

I’m not sure when I’ve been so moved by a novel as I was reading Nina LaCour’s We Are Okay. It’s a beautiful story, unflinching in its portrayals of grief and absolutely perfect in its prose. To say this is a book about growing up, about first love and first loss is to reduce its subtle sense of wonder and to overlook its nuanced melancholy. LaCour successfully distills the sharp sadness of youth, weaving together the shock and the boredom, the hope and the fear of despair, in a character’s voice who brought me back to myself at eighteen and made me wish that I had heard her then...

Reading Claire Fuller's Swimming Lessons

What struck me most immediately about Claire Fuller’s second novel was its keen sense of place. Swimming Lessons is set in Dorset on an island that can only be reached by ferry. The water haunts these characters like a physical manifestation of memory. The landscape, like the story itself, turns inviting, then forbidding, and is often both at once...