FICTION

Nothing To See Here

Ecco: HarperCollins. Nov. 2019. 272p. ISBN 9780062913463. $26.99; ebk. ISBN 9780062913487. F
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As teenagers, wealthy Madison and scholarship student Lillian became unlikely friends at a prestigious boarding school, until Lillian was expelled for something Madison did. Now that they’re in their late 20s, Madison is married to a senator, and she invites Lillian—who spends her days working at a grocery store and smoking pot in her mother’s attic—to their estate to care for her new stepchildren…who are prone to literally bursting into flames when upset. The novel is a love letter to the weirdness and difficulties of children and of parenting, with or without spontaneous human combustion. The fire is a lovely and flexible metaphor for childhood—the pain, joy, and mania of it—as vital, beautiful, and terrifying as kids themselves can be. Lillian tells the story in an easy, engaging voice, cynical and funny without being caustic. Like the author’s The Family Fang, this is another story of a family that is as delightfully bizarre as it is heartfelt and true.
VERDICT Wilson further cements himself as a chronicler of peculiar families while reminding us that, then again, aren’t they all? [See Prepub Alert, 5/5/19.]

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