The Resource Juno's swans, Tamsen Wolff

Juno's swans, Tamsen Wolff

Label
Juno's swans
Title
Juno's swans
Statement of responsibility
Tamsen Wolff
Title variation
Junos swans
Creator
Author
Subject
Genre
Language
eng
Summary
"It's the summer before Nina's senior year in high school and she needs to get away. She escapes from her family and small town, and enrolls in an acting course in Cape Cod. There, she meets Sarah, a teaching assistant with the theatre program, who captures her heart. Nina knows they are destined to be "coupled and inseparable," as Shakespeare describes the faithful swans of Juno. Bright and independent, Nina has long yearned for a deeper emotional connection with someone, and this seems to be the chance for the love she has always craved. Yet as her own world revolves around Sarah, the heady summer moves urgently onwards. A vivid cast of characters wheels past; her best friend feels abandoned; and the Reagan years bring their own uncertainties, as post-Stonewall New York opens up and the AIDS epidemic rages. As Nina comes to understand the nature of love and loss, she sees the people in her life anew, and at last, she finds her way home. With lyrical prose and an evocative narrative voice, Tamsen Wolff brings to life the dizzying experience of first love--and its partner, first heartbreak. The novel masterfully appraises love, desire, and disappointment with a clear and beautiful eye"--Page [2] of cover
Storyline
Tone
Writing style
Character
Review
  • In the summer before their senior year of high school, Nina and her best friend, Titch, leave their small New England town for Cape Cod. There they will house-sit, attend camps—theater for Nina, painting for Titch—and work catering jobs while being watched over, sort of, by Titch's older stepsister. Theirs will be a sandy, artistic, unsupervised bliss. Things quickly stray from plan, however, when Nina falls hard for Sarah, an assistant instructor at her camp. Nina's narration reveals the complicated family relationships that leave her aching for love; a recent, narrowly escaped tryst with a high-school teacher; and Titch's pain at losing her to Sarah, though Nina can't quite recognize it at first. With its acutely portrayed psychological depth, a heady summer at its heart, and its focus on a well-worn friendship that becomes uncharted territory when first love enters the picture, Princeton associate professor Wolff's debut, coming-of-age novel casts a literary spell that recalls the dazzling second book of Elena Ferrante's Neopolitan novels, The Story of a New Name (2013). -- Annie Bostrom (Reviewed 9/1/2018) (Booklist, vol 115, number 1, p42)
  • /* Starred Review */ Wolff’s debut novel is a riveting account of first love. In the summer of 1988, between Nina’s junior and senior year of high school in Vermont, she jumps at the chance to run away from an illicit relationship with her English teacher, enrolls in an acting course on Cape Cod, and heads to the Cape with her best friend, Titch. On their first weekend there, Nina meets Sarah, a talented but distant teaching assistant in her late 20s, and quickly becomes infatuated with her, leaving Titch in the lurch. With Sarah, future possibilities seem endless, and the realities of Nina’s life at home quickly fade: the death of her grandfather, the deteriorating health of her grandmother, the frequent absences of her mother, and her father’s abandonment of the family. Yet from the novel’s very first sentence, “Sarah says she’s in love with someone else,” the narrative is centered on heartbreak. As Nina’s relationship with Sarah unravels, America unravels in the backdrop as well, with the AIDS epidemic and cultural tensions roiling the nation. Although Nina is keenly aware of the political landscape, Wolff’s crushing novel is ultimately a very personal story, vividly rendered in a montage of memories. Considering both romantic and platonic female relationships, Wolff explores the necessity of lived (instead of studied) experience and the lasting importance of loved ones. Agent: Stacy Testa, Writers House. (Sept.) --Staff (Reviewed 08/13/2018) (Publishers Weekly, vol 265, issue 33, p)
  • /* Starred Review */ In As You Like It, Shakespeare described lovers who, like Juno's Swans, were "coupled and inseparable." He could have been referring to Nina and Sarah, young women who meet during a summer theater workshop on Cape Cod. Nina is just 17; Sarah is a slightly older college student working as an assistant acting coach in the program Nina attends. Virtually immediately, the pair fall into head-over-heels love; within a week, they've moved in together and seem to settle into a tranquil domesticity. They're discreet but not closeted. Sarah has had other lesbian romances; Nina has not, but she's more than willing. In fact, she's hungry for attention and affection, having already experienced a shocking number of upsets and difficulties: Her father abandoned the family when she was a child; her grandfather committed suicide; her mom seems more interested in her career than in parenting her only child; her grandmother has begun the descent into age-related dementia; and an affair with an older, male teacher during her junior year of high school has left her confused, disturbed, and disgusted. Traveling from her New Hampshire home to Cape Cod, Nina reasons, will be an adventure. Initially, her plan was to travel to Wellfleet with her best friend, Titch, attend class, and work at a catering hall, a trio of activities that she believes will prepare her to survive her upcoming senior year. But once Sarah enters the mix, the plan goes awry. Suffice it to say that what unfolds is by turns tragic, heartfelt, funny, and charming. Set during the Reagan years, the novel has a backdrop of the burgeoning HIV-AIDS crisis and the post-Stonewall emergence of a strong LGBTQ movement, and numerous pop-culture references add authenticity. The strains that often emerge between women—among them, Titch is furious about being abandoned by Nina—are showcased, and when Nina ultimately gets jilted, the searing pain of a broken heart is rendered evocatively but without melodrama or sap. It's first love writ large. Thanks to numerous supporting players—other students in the theater class and several neighbors and co-workers—the book not only situates the relationship in a broader political context, but makes time and place vivid ancillary characters. Captivating and achingly realistic, this is a stunning debut. (Kirkus Reviews, July 1, 2018)
http://library.link/vocab/ext/novelist/bookUI
10692533
Cataloging source
YDX
http://library.link/vocab/creatorName
Wolff, Tamsen
Dewey number
  • 813/.6
  • [Fic]
Index
no index present
Literary form
novels
http://library.link/vocab/resourcePreferred
True
http://library.link/vocab/subjectName
  • Lesbian couples
  • Theater
  • Actors
  • Cape Cod (Mass.)
  • Nineteen eighties
  • Actors
  • Bildungsromans
  • Lesbian couples
  • Nineteen eighties
  • Theater
  • Massachusetts
Target audience
adult
Label
Juno's swans, Tamsen Wolff
Instantiates
Publication
Copyright
Carrier category
volume
Carrier category code
  • nc
Carrier MARC source
rdacarrier
Content category
text
Content type code
  • txt
Content type MARC source
rdacontent
Control code
1970778
Dimensions
21 cm
Extent
268 pages
Isbn
9781609454661
Media category
unmediated
Media MARC source
rdamedia
Media type code
  • n
System control number
  • (Sirsi) i9781609454661
  • (OCoLC)1026628828
Label
Juno's swans, Tamsen Wolff
Publication
Copyright
Carrier category
volume
Carrier category code
  • nc
Carrier MARC source
rdacarrier
Content category
text
Content type code
  • txt
Content type MARC source
rdacontent
Control code
1970778
Dimensions
21 cm
Extent
268 pages
Isbn
9781609454661
Media category
unmediated
Media MARC source
rdamedia
Media type code
  • n
System control number
  • (Sirsi) i9781609454661
  • (OCoLC)1026628828

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