The Truth About Celia
By Kevin Brockmeier
(Pantheon, Hardcover, 9780375421358, 240pp.)
Publication Date: July 8, 2003
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From the award-winning author of Things That Fall from the Sky, a richly nuanced and deeply moving novel about the disappearance of a young girl, as told by her devastated father.
Celia is seven years old on the day she goes missing. Her father, Christopher, is giving a tour of their historic house; her mother, Janet, is at an orchestra rehearsal. Celia is outside playing. She rides her bicycle. She throws a rubber ball against the roof. She disappears.
A writer of fantasy and science fiction, Christopher finds himself drawn into a grief-induced world of wishful fantasy in which Celia still exists. Plunging into his work to help him cope with her disappearance, he writes of its effects from the points of view of the people who are still haunted by her absence: Janet, the policeman who is in charge of the case, and Christopher himself—each voice contributing to the heart-wrenching picture of a town subtly, but lastingly, changed.
The Truth About Celia is a novel of remarkable understanding—an extraordinary exploration of profound loss and inconsolable grief.
Kevin Brockmeier is the author of Things That Fall from the Sky and of a children’s novel, City of Names. He has published stories in The Georgia Review, The Carolina Quarterly, and McSweeney’s. His story “Space” from Things That Fall from the Sky has been selected for The Best American Short Stories, and his story “The Green Children from The Truth About Celia has been selected for The Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror. He has received the Chicago Tribune’s Nelson Algren Award, an Italo Calvino Short Fiction Award, a James Michener–Paul Engle Fellowship, two O. Henry Awards (one of which was a first prize), and, most recently, an NEA grant. He lives in Little Rock, Arkansas.