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February 2019 Fiction: Literary

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Daphne
A Novel
By (author): Will Boast
9781631495427 Paperback, Trade English General Trade FICTION / Literary Feb 01, 2019
$21.95 CAD
Active 5.45 x 8.24 x 0.64 in 288 pages WW Norton Liveright
In this “elegant meditation on modern-day emotion” (San Francisco Chronicle), best-selling, prize-winning author Will Boast reimagines the myth of Daphne and Apollo.

Will Boast’s long-anticipated first novel is an “outright marvelous debut [that] breathes fresh vigor into timeless questions of love and risk” (Laura van den Berg). Born with a rare condition in which she suffers degrees of paralysis when faced with intense emotion, Daphne has had few close friends and fewer lovers. Like her mythic namesake, one touch can freeze her. But when Daphne meets shy, charming Ollie, her well-honed defenses falter, and she’s faced with a critical choice: cling to her protective isolation or risk the recklessness of real intimacy. Set against the backdrop of a San Francisco flush with money and pulsing with protest, Daphne is “an amiable exploration of how humans might come to manage their raucous hearts” (NewYorker.com).

Will Boast was born in England and grew up in Ireland and Wisconsin. He won the Iowa Short Fiction Award for his story collection, Power Ballads, and the Rome Prize. A former Wallace Stegner Fellow, his writing has appeared in the New York Times, Virginia Quarterly Review, Best New American Voices, and elsewhere. He divides his time between Chicago and Brooklyn, New York.

An elegant meditation on modern-day emotion…. Boast is interested in the ways we handle the unwieldy welter of emotions that defines human existence (“We’re absolutely pickled in it,” Daphne notes), how we protect ourselves from the pain of others and fail to express our own…. Even the most hard-hearted reader will find Boast’s deep awe of “what it is to feel” catching.—Chelsea Leu, San Francisco Chronicle

Boast seems to have captured today’s cultural zeitgeist…Watching Ollie and Daphne fall in love is both sweet and fraught…[Daphne’s] plight is universal; risk losing control over one’s own life by embracing human intimacy, or remain in the safe isolation of a hermetically sealed existence.—Natalie Serber, New York Times Book Review

Boast’s novel is an amiable exploration of how humans might come to manage their raucous hearts.—NewYorker.com

[An] engaging debut…[Daphne] appeals not only to the heart but also to the head. —The Guardian

In his stunning first novel, Boast turns the myth of Daphne and Apollo into a modern love story about social anxiety and physical debilitation…Sharply observant, both of the limits of human longing and of the fear of feeling trapped inside one’s body, Boast’s understated tale is at once tragic and enchanting.—Booklist, Starred Review

Psychology and myth twist into each other in this debut novel about vulnerability and fear…. Boast’s story is rooted in myth. But it’s his perceptive take on the risks of emotion that the reader will remember.—Kirkus Reviews, starred review

Supple…. Boast precisely depicts Daphne’s emotional states, with brief, sensorily rich passages when she is on the brink of overload…. The novel offers a striking metaphor for the ways emotion is experienced in the body.—Publishers Weekly

Will Boast has written a novel that exquisitely marries ancient mythology and au courant medicine to tell our favorite tale, the love story, with insights both age-old and brand-spanking new. It’s a fine, fine ride.—Antonya Nelson, author of Bound and Funny Once

Richly meditative and quietly suspenseful, Daphne breathes fresh vigor into timeless questions about love and risk—the unknowable cost of fully opening one’s heart to another. Will Boast writes beautifully about life’s daily moral gambles, and Daphne is an outright marvelous debut. —Laura van den Berg, author of Find Me

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