Celadon. Jun. 2022. 240p. ISBN 9781250219633. $26.99. F
Schaitkin’s first novel, Saint X, buzzed big in 2020 and was on multiple “best of” lists; Hulu is now casting and producing an eight-episode adaptation of the novel. Her second book is a simply stunning work of speculative fiction. The prose is as magical as the haunting world Schaitkin creates; the story is as captivating as the prose; the characters, the imagery—flawless. The novel has social commentary and thematic strength to boot. The story focuses on Vera, who moves from girlhood to adulthood in an ethereal fairy tale-like village that’s separated from “elsewhere.” Its small population does not see any outsiders. The villagers lead generally peaceful, simple lives but suffer from an “affliction” where mothers often vanish, seemingly at random, from families who awaken in the morning to find their mother is simply—poof—gone. This novel is, at its core, a commentary and psychological exploration of motherhood, as readers follow Vera through parenting’s tender highs and most gut-wrenching, self-doubting lows.
VERDICT Schaitkin’s sophomore novel channels early Margaret Atwood, a magical, otherworldly story certain to be on plenty of 2022 “best of” lists.
Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing