By Amy Rowland
(Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, Hardcover, 9781616202545, 246pp.)
Publication Date: May 2014
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A haunting and provocative novel about the mysteries of life and a death, the written word, things seen and unseen, heard and forgotten. Amy Rowland s writing is compelling and masterful. Delia Ephron, author of The Lion Is InOnce, there were many transcriptionists at the Record, a behemoth New York City newspaper, but new technology and the ease of communication has put most of them out of work. So now Lena, the last transcriptionist, sits alone in a room--a human conduit, silently turning reporters recorded stories into print--until the day she encounters a story so shocking that it shatters the reverie that has become her life.This exquisite novel, written by a woman who spent more than a decade as a transcriptionist at the New York Times, asks probing questions about journalism and ethics, about the decline of the newspaper and the failure of language. It is also the story of a woman s effort to establish her place in an increasingly alien and alienating world. A strange, mesmerizing novel about language, isolation, ethics, technology, and the lack of trust between institutions and the people they purportedly serve . . . A fine debut novel about the decline of newspapers and the subsequent loss of humanity--and yes, these are related. Booklist, starred review Ambitious and fascinating . . . Disturbing and powerful . . . Recommended for fans of literary fiction. Library Journal Rowland s farcical approach . . . is balanced by the novel s realistic insights into journalistic integrity, the evolution of contemporary newspaper publishing, and, more broadly, the importance of genuine communication. Publishers Weekly Unforgettable. Written with such delight, compassion, and humanity, it s newsworthy. Alex Gilvarry, author of From the Memoirs of a Non-Enemy Combatant"