Inside by Alix Ohlin
Knopf • $24.95  • ISBN 9780307596925
on sale June 5, 2012

In a dark but satisfying second novel, Alix Ohlin connects the stories of three lonely people across decades and continents in a manner that recalls one of my favorite books from 2010, Frederick Reiken's Day for Night. Consistently surprising, often devastating as the protagonists find themselves unable to achieve closeness with others—to share what's on the inside—it's a memorable read.

After all, it isn't every novel that begins with a woman stumbling over a failed suicide on a ski slope:

The air torn from her returned slowly, painfully, to her burning lungs. When she could breathe she said, "Are you all right?"

There was no answer. He was flung across the trail with his head half buried in the snow. Beyond his body the ski marks stopped. She thought he must have had an accident, but then she saw his skis propped neatly against a tree.

She got to her feet and gingerly stepped around until she could see his face. He wasn't wearing a hat. "Excuse me," she said, louder. "Are you okay?" She thought maybe he'd collapsed after a heart attack or stroke. He lay sprawled on his side, knees bent, eyes closed, one arm up above his head. "Monsieur?" she said. "Ça va?"

Kneeling down to check his pulse, she saw the rope around his neck.

What are you reading this week?

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