FINALIST FOR THE OREGON BOOK AWARDS—KEN KESEY AWARD FOR FICTION “Intimate, vibrant, and richly colored.”—Portland Monthly
“[An] extraordinary feat of storytelling . . . A spellbinding novel as tough as it is beautiful.” — Helen Simonson, author of The Summer Before the War
“A beautifully spun tale . . . An astonishing alchemy of history, romance, and fable.” —Kirkus Reviews, starred review
Maris was born knowing things: his very large, very special ears enable him to hear the secrets of the dead, as well as the memories that haunt his Latvian hometown. As a boy, Maris finds himself heir to an odd assortment of hidden letters, letters from which he would weave a story that could finally expose—and maybe even patch—the holes in the fabric of his family and their town.
With humor, heart, and her characteristic “luminous writing [and] affection for her characters” (New York Times), Gina Ochsner creates an intimate, hopeful portrait of a fascinating town in all its complications and charm. From the onset of World War II through the cold shock of independence, we see how, despite years of distrust, a community can come through love and loss to the joy of understanding.
“A captivating novel of secrets, love, and memory . . . This terrific novel knocked me out.” —Janet Fitch, author of Paint It Black
“A gift on par with Joanne Harris’s Chocolat . . . Quirky, ethereal, hilarious, and sorrowful.” —Shelf Awareness
About the Author
GINA OCHSNER is the author of two collections of short stories, People I Wanted to Be and The Necessary Grace to Fall, both of which won the Oregon Book Award, and a novel, The Russian Dreambook of Color and Flight, which was long-listed for the Orange Prize. Her work has appeared in The New Yorker and The Best American Nonrequired Reading. She is a recipient of the Flannery O’Connor Award, the William Faulkner Prize, an NEA grant, a Guggenheim, and the Raymond Carver Prize. She lives in Oregon.