Story Plant hardcover
Publication date: January 1, 2012
“This gripping first novel announces the arrival of a strong, distinct and fully evolved new voice.”
– Jennifer Egan, Pulitzer Prize winner, and author of A Visit From the Goon Squad
Sixteen-year-old Sarah Kunitz lives in a posh, suburban world of 1970 Boston. From the outside, her parents’ lifestyle appears enviable – a world defined by cocktail parties, expensive cars, and live-in maids to care for their children – but inside their five-bedroom house, all is not well for the Kunitz family. Coming home from school, Sarah finds her well-dressed, pill-popping mother lying disheveled on their living room couch. At night, to escape their parents’ arguments, Sarah and her oldest brother, Peter, find solace in music, while her two younger brothers retreat to their rooms and imaginary lives. Any vestige of decorum and stability drains away when a family tragedy occurs one terrible winter day. Soon after, their father, a self-absorbed, bombastic professor begins an affair with a younger colleague. Sarah, aggrieved, dives into two summer romances that lead to unforeseen consequences.
In a story that will make you laugh and cry, Night Swim shows how a family, bound by heartache, learns to love again.
“An amazing new literary voice, Jessica Keener explores the fine-laced network of tangled familial relations in language both bold and intricate. Night Swim is the deeply moving and devastatingly beautiful work of a fearless writer.”
– Sara Gruen, New York Times bestselling author of Water for Elephants
“This earnest debut centers on Sarah as she tunnels through new depths of loneliness.”
– The New York Times
“Keener’s observations perfectly capture a certain kind of 1970s adolescence: the adults who tried too hard, the sudden appearance of a joint when in the presence of older cousins, the way a grownup party could spin from fun to disturbing in a blink. Most exhilaratingly, she taps into the thrilling moments when a girl of 16 can see her future, whether in music or books or a boy’s smile.”
– Boston Globe
Jessica Keener has earned lavish praise from the literary community (including The New York Times and the Boston Globe), the blogging community, and a distinguished collection of her fellow writers. Sara Gruen, the bestselling author of Water for Elephants called Jessica "an amazing new literary voice" while Pulitzer Prize winner Jennifer Egan calls her "a strong, distinct and fully evolved new voice" and bestselling author Caroline Leavitt named her "a literary master."