What's Never Said

Heliotrope. 2015. 278p. ISBN 9781942762164. $23; pap. ISBN 9781942762171. $16. F
Lila Penn came to New York City from Wisconsin in 1980 as an idealistic young student in a graduate writing program. She fell in love with the city and with her professor and mentor, Daniel Wildman, but their relationship ended abruptly when he left for Tel Aviv. Professor Wildman turned out to be more indecisive than wild, and Lila was very young. Now, 30 years later, both are happily married to other people. But is there still a spark between the former student and her much older professor? Forward to 2010: Wildman has just won a Pulitzer Prize for his writing. Lila nervously decides to go to his reading and book signing, but it doesn't go well. Could it be that her former love doesn't even remember her? This wistful story of love and poetry is told from the viewpoints of both characters, then and now. Shapiro (Overexposed) is especially clever in her portrayal of the petty dramas and rivalries of creative writing programs.
VERDICT This wry look back at a complicated and doomed romance is a sophisticated and witty novel about academia and New York publishing.
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