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The bold new novel by Tara Ison is a haunting story about identity, how a vulnerable mind can be shaped and warped, and how that psychological trajectory can happen under the influence of extremist ideologies and the trauma of war. Young Danielle is ripped from her life in Paris after the German Occupation and the violent loss of her father. Her mother flees underground, leaving Danielle to the care of a Catholic family in the remote village of La Perrine. She is reborn as Marie-Jeanne, the niece of kindly Berthe and Claude and cousin to their angry son Luc, who resents her presence as a threat to his family’s safety.
As the Vichy government's collaboration with Germany increases, Danielle faces a series of events that will change her forever: the discovery that her new friend, too, is Jewish; that her cousin might be involved in la Resistance; and that the affections of a friendly Vichy official might contain intentions more diabolical than she ever thought possible.
Ultimately she must discover: Is she Danielle or Marie-Jeanne? Who can she trust, the father she cannot remember, the mother who abandoned her, the fake family she relies upon, or the seductive fervor of a passionate war all around her? Which person will win out? Ison’s intricate, explosive novel presents a fascinating look at identity during a time of great instability and violence.
Tara Ison is the author of the novels The List: A Child out of Alcatraz, a Finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize; and Rockaway, featured as one of the Best Books of Summer” in O, The Oprah Magazine. Her essay collection, Reeling Through Life: How I Learned to Live, Love, and Die at the Movies, is the Winner of the PEN Southwest Book Award for Best Creative Nonfiction, and her story collection Ball, was published to critical acclaim. Her work has appeared in Tin House, Salon, Electric Literature, the Los Angeles Times, the San Francisco Chronicle, and the Chicago Tribune.