By Laura van den Berg

Laura van den Berg's stunning new booklet, The Isle of Youth, explores the lives of girls mired in secrecy and deception. From a newlywed stuck in an inscrutable marriage, to non-public eyes operating a baffling case in South Florida, to who assists her magician mom and steals from the viewers, the characters in those bewitching tales are instantaneously weak and unsafe, bighearted and ruthless, and they're going to do what it takes to outlive.

Each story is spun with stylish urgency, and the reader grows hooked up to the marginalized younger women in those stories―women grappling with the alternatives they have made and looking for the clues to unencumber their internal worlds. this can be the paintings of a fearless author whose tales consider either magical and mystical, incomes her the identify of "sorceress" from her readers. Be ready to fall less than her spell.
An NPR most sensible booklet of 2013

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It was once a coarse local. each evening, Julia locked all our equipment—GPS, walkie-talkies, tape recorders, cameras, binoculars, laptops—in a secure in her bed room closet. She stored the Glock 22 i used to be approved for at the bedside desk. simply final week our neighbor Mirabella have been robbed at knifepoint. I had attempted to speak my sister into relocating, mentioning crime information and average rents in different neighborhoods, yet she enjoyed the two-story blue stucco development with the concrete balcony and the tired swimming pool half-filled with bottles and empty cigarette packs. For Julia, threat was once like air. the excellent news used to be that we kept a package in lease and will come up with the money for to run advertisements in every little thing from the South Florida Sun-Sentinel to the Boca Beacon, which used to be how Mrs. Defonte had discovered us. One evening, every week into the Defonte case, I advised Julia i wanted to move for a force. It took lower than an hour to arrive the opera condo. It used to be on a brick highway coated with palm timber, a round construction with a pitcher facade, so even from the parking zone, i'll see the nice and cozy mild inside of. A crescent-shaped pool curved in entrance of the doorway; a trio of fountainheads shot white water into the air. After discovering the practice session degree, I took a seat within the very again. the distance used to be empty keep for a handful of individuals within the entrance rows. They have been in practice session for Don Giovanni. Mrs. Defonte stood at the right-hand facet of the level. She wore highway outfits, black slacks and a crisp red button-down. a protracted white veil was once clipped to her hair. a guy with a black masks over his eyes stood within the heart of the degree, making a song. I watched Mrs. Defonte watch the guy and questioned what she used to be feeling. another individual got here into the theater and walked down the aisle, wearing an armful of pretend roses to the degree. I sank decrease into my seat. The veil Mrs. Defonte wore in her hair used to be now not in contrast to the only I’d worn whilst I acquired married. I had moved in with Julia six months in the past, after my divorce used to be finalized, and shortly I’d all started getting unusual postcards within the mail. They have been a part of a suite. I’d obvious an analogous type of factor in a celebration shop as soon as; if I had the entire playing cards they'd healthy jointly like a puzzle. thus far, I’d bought swatches of sky, a cloud, a dried-out river, and a brown ledge. there has been not anything at the again other than my identify and Julia’s deal with. every thing used to be typed, the letters huge and a bit smudged, as if it have been performed on an previous typewriter. The postmarks have been from Arizona, Utah, Nevada. I had by no means obvious my husband use a typewriter, yet he had continuously desired to commute west. He proposal Florida was once a depressing swamp. And he knew Julia’s stands out as the first position I’d flip. as soon as, I unfold the playing cards out at the flooring and attempted to place them so as. I didn’t have adequate items to make experience of what they have been speculated to be. whilst Mrs. Defonte started making a song, my fingers dropped into my lap. My chin rose, as if pulled through a string. each one be aware used to be as excellent because the crystal goblets I’d spotted on her eating room desk. the opposite actors on degree gazed at her with a similar form of ask yourself.

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