JOAN FRANK / Make It Stay
In the tree-nestled Northern California town of Mira Flores, writer Rachel (“an aging typist with an unprofitable hobby”) and her Scottish husband Neil prepare dinner for a familiar “crew” -- among them Neil's best friend, the burly Mike Spender, an irrepressible hedonist -- and Mike's wife, the troubling Tilda Krall, a hardbitten figure who carries her dark unknowability like an accusation. As they ready the meal, Rae begs Neil to retell her the strange, twisted story of the Spenders -- Mike's secret life, and what happened once Tilda learned of it. Neil and Rae cannot guess how the shock waves from that story will threaten to destroy their own marriage -- after a mysterious catastrophe propels all four principals into uncharted realities. Make It Stay explores the vision of an era -- and how perception expands, as mortal limits draw near.
Joan Frank is the award-winning author of four prior books of fiction. Her recent story collection, In Envy Country, won the ForeWord Reviews Book of the Year Award and the Richard Sullivan Prize, and was a finalist for the California Book Award. She is a MacDowell Colony Fellow, winner of the Dana Award, Michigan Literary Fiction Award, Iowa Writing Award and Emrys Fiction Award, and recipient of grants from the Barbara Deming Memorial Fund, Ludwig Vogelstein Foundation, and Sonoma Arts Council. She has taught Creative Writing at San Francisco State University, and continues to teach and write in private consultation.
“Frank's prose style reminded me of two of the best English writers of similar character-driven novels: Penelope Fitzgerald and Penelope Lively, both masters of the glancing but devastating observation. As Rachel states early on, ‘We've outlived so much of our own foolishness - the great, great comfort of age.’ But then, no surprise, she is made to understand the folly of such complacency, and how Frank gets her heroine there is masterful.” – San Francisco Chronicle
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