By Francine Prose
(Harper Perennial, Paperback, 9780060934699, 240pp.)
Publication Date: December 1, 2001
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What are these barbaric rituals that pass for social and family life? Who are these fearsome creatures who linger in decaying mansions and at glittery malls, trendy weddings and dinner parties? These are the questions that trouble Simone, a beautiful, smart young Haitian woman. She has fled the chaotic violence of Port-au-Prince only to find herself in a world no less brutal or bizarre -- a seemingly civilized landscape where dead sheep swing from trees, lightbulbs are ceremonially buried, fur-clad mothers carve terrifying goddesses out of pumice...and where learning to lie is the principal rite of passage into adulthood.
The primitive people of this darkly satiric novel are not, as one might expect, the backward denizens of some savage isle, but the wealthy inhabitants of the Hudson Valley in upstate New York.
Francine Prose is the critically acclaimed author of nineteen novels, including the National Book Award Finalist Blue Angel and My New American Life. She has written three other novels for young adults: After, winner of the California Young Reader Medal, an IRA/CBC Young Adults' Choice, and a New York Public Library Book for the Teen Age; Bullyville, a PW Best Book and Book Sense Children's Pick; and her most recent, Touch. She is also the author of two picture books, Leopold, the Liar of Leipzig and Rhino, Rhino, Sweet Potato. The recipient of numerous grants and honors, including a Guggenheim and a Fulbright, Francine Prose was Director's Fellow at the Center for Scholars and Writers at the New York Public Library. She lives in New York City.