Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Hardcover, 9780151005888, 192pp.
Publication Date: August 1, 2001
A Simple Tale is the moving account of Maria Poniatowski, a woman born in the Ukraine between the two World Wars, taken by the Germans for slave labor, and eventually relocated as a displaced person to Canada. She and her husband settle in Toronto. They struggle to build a new life there and provide their son Radek with every opportunity. But a gulf widens between mother and son. What of the past is she to preserve, and how to avoid letting its weight burden the present? Maria's story is about the moments of connection and isolation that are, ultimately, common to us all.
The Hunters is told by an American academic living in a dreary suburb of London for a summer. Removed from the relationships that ordinarily add structure to life, this scholar soon grows obsessed by the neighbors downstairs. Ridley Wandor lives with her mother and their horde of pet rabbits, occupying her days as a caretaker of the elderly. While the narrator researches a book about death, Ridley Wandor's patients all seem to be dying. Is she doing away with them? The narrator constructs Ridley's story from the available clues, only to find that nothing is what it had seemed to be.
"A phenomenally controlled tour de force."-VOGUE
"Haunting and evocative."--SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE
"Remarkable . . . Messud has written a very serious book-always original, intense and gripping."--THE NEW YORK REVIEW OF BOOKS