Dear Thief

Atavist. Oct. 2014. 272p. ISBN 9781937894467. pap. $20; ebk. ISBN 9781937894450. F
Central character Nina is missing from Harvey's third novel (following Wilderness and All Is Song), which takes the form of a long, rambling letter written to her by her estranged childhood friend. Gone for the past 18 years, Nina (or Butterfly) may now be living in Lithuania, from which her Jewish parents escaped when the Nazis arrived and to which they briefly returned before the communists took over. As Nina's backstory begins to emerge, each revelation comes as a tiny shock wave. Each illumination also sheds light on the twisty paths of the narrator's own history: her marriage and separation from her husband, the birth of her son, her work in a home for seniors and posing as a live model for art students, and her relationship with a Greek restaurant owner.
VERDICT A story about a long friendship and the betrayals that tore it apart, this thoughtful meditation, interspersed with reflections on philosophy, religion, and poetry, is about the passage of time, the accumulation of memory, and the hard-won wisdom of aging. For readers of literary fiction.
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