The Paper Palace
by Miranda Cowley Heller
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'Tightly woven and immediate, The Paper Palace takes us deep into a vivid summer landscape, a family, and a private, longstanding love story, and holds us there from start to finish' Meg Wolitzer, bestselling author of The Wife and The Female Persuasion
Before anyone else is awake, on a perfect August morning, Elle Bishop heads out for a swim in the glorious freshwater pond below 'The Paper Palace' -- the gently decaying summer camp in the back woods of Cape Cod where her family has spent every summer for generations. As she passes the house, Elle glances through the screen porch at the uncleared table from the dinner the previous evening; empty wine glasses, candle wax on the tablecloth, echoes of laughter of family and friends. Then she dives beneath the surface of the freezing water to the shocking memory of the sudden passionate encounter she had the night before, up against the wall behind the house, as her husband and mother chatted to the guests inside.
So begins a story that unfolds over twenty-four hours and across fifty years, as decades of family legacies, love, lies, secrets, and one unspeakable incident in her childhood lead Elle to the precipice of a life-changing decision. Over the next twenty-four hours, Elle will have to decide between the world she has made with her much-loved husband, Peter, and the life she imagined would be hers with her childhood love, Jonas, if a tragic event hadn't forever changed the course of their lives.
Tender yet devastating, The Paper Palace is a masterful novel that brilliantly illuminates the tensions between desire and safety; the legacy of tragedy, and the crimes and misdemeanours of families.
'Glorious and gorgeous. I was absolutely immersed and gripped and I'm devastated to have finished it' Marian Keyes
'A beautifully constructed, wonderfully intelligent and beguiling novel, rich with a multitude of pleasures' William Boyd
'Beautifully written, richly compelling, The Paper Palace is as dark and uncompromising as it is tender and lyrical. Here is a love triangle that keeps you turning the pages, a vivid evocation of place, and an exploration of the one of the most unsettling of secrets' Rachel Joyce
'I can't think of a more brilliant debut than The Paper Palace. Enticing, assured and multi-layered, it introduces a major new voice in American fiction . . . A marvel' Cressida Connolly
'Absolutely phenomenal novel - dazzling writing and utterly addictive. Read it' Rosamund Lupton