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The Burning Girl: A Novel
by Claire Messud

Published: 2017-08-29
Hardcover : 256 pages
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Recommended to book clubs by 1 of 1 members

A New York Times Bestseller

A bracing, hypnotic coming-of-age story about the bond of best friends, from the New York Times best-selling author of The Emperor’s Children.

Julia and Cassie have been friends since nursery school. They have shared everything, including their desire to ...

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Introduction

A New York Times Bestseller

A bracing, hypnotic coming-of-age story about the bond of best friends, from the New York Times best-selling author of The Emperor’s Children.

Julia and Cassie have been friends since nursery school. They have shared everything, including their desire to escape the stifling limitations of their birthplace, the quiet town of Royston, Massachusetts. But as the two girls enter adolescence, their paths diverge and Cassie sets out on a journey that will put her life in danger and shatter her oldest friendship. The Burning Girl is a complex examination of the stories we tell ourselves about youth and friendship, and straddles, expertly, childhood’s imaginary worlds and painful adult reality?crafting a true, immediate portrait of female adolescence.

Claire Messud, one of our finest novelists, is as accomplished at weaving a compelling fictional world as she is at asking the big questions: To what extent can we know ourselves and others? What are the stories we create to comprehend our lives and relationships? Brilliantly mixing fable and coming-of-age tale, The Burning Girl gets to the heart of these matters in an absolutely irresistible way.

Editorial Review

An Amazon Best Book of September 2017: Claire Messud’s seventh novel, The Burning Girl, may be to adolescent girlhood what The Catcher in the Rye was to generations of boys. It’s one of those novels that seems to encompass all that is important about that intense period of life and love, despite being narrow in scope. Told in the first person by Julia, a young teenager living in a small town outside Boston, there is as much passion here as in like Romeo and Juliet, but the loves at stake are more varied and less certain. Her relationship with her mother, her attraction to a boy at school, and centrally, her childhood friendship with reckless, beautiful Cassie, all prove to be subject to change. Messud’s great theme is mutability; the way that change represents freedom, but also threatens us with loss. In its happiest moments, Cassie and Julia’s friendship allows them to be anyone at all. Too soon, though, the girls’ play becomes constrained by social forces, among them, the power of stories – stories about girls and what can happen to them – and what power they might have over those narratives. Echoes of Greek myths and fairy tales remind readers that Julia’s concerns are ages old, and resonate far beyond her suburban milieu. This is a moving, serious book which I’m recommending to all the women I know – and will be giving to my own teenage daughter in the hopes that this story about stories will help her question, and create, her own. --Sarah Harrison Smith, Amazon Book Review

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Member Reviews

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by KRoby (see profile) 06/12/19

 
  "the burning girl"by Carolynr (see profile) 07/08/18

This was an ok book for me. Glad i read it, it held my interest...just not outstanding.

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