A masterful literary talent explores the treacherous, often violent borders between war and sex, love and art.
With the flash of a camera, one girl’s life is shattered, and a host of others altered forever. . .
In a war-torn village in Eastern Europe, an American photographer captures a heart-stopping image: a young girl flying toward the lens, fleeing a fiery explosion that has engulfed her home and family. The image wins acclaim and prizes, becoming an icon for millions—and a subject of obsession for one writer, the photographer’s best friend, who has suffered a devastating tragedy of her own.
As the writer plunges into a suicidal depression, her filmmaker husband enlists several friends, including a fearless bisexual poet and an ingenuous performance artist, to save her by rescuing the unknown girl and bringing her to the United States. And yet, as their plot unfolds, everything we know about the story comes into question: What does the writer really want? Who is controlling the action? And what will happen when these two worlds—east and west, real and virtual—collide?
A fierce, provocative, and deeply affecting novel of both ideas and action that blends the tight construction of Julian Barnes’s The Sense of an Ending with the emotional power of Anthony Marra’s A Constellation of Vital Phenomena, Lidia Yuknavitch’s The Small Backs of Children is a major step forward from one of our most avidly watched writers.
“Yuknavitch has emerged as a trailblazing literary voice that spans genres and dives deep into themes of gender, sexuality, art, violence, and transcendence.”
“I have never felt so wrung out by a novel and yet simultaneously invigorated…a terrifically good novel and powerfully written.”
“This is a novel for the bold of heart.”
“An intensely corporal, potently feminist, tenaciously written work as alert to animal resilience as to the capacity for bruised and battered suffering, for desire, for ecstasy.”
Advance Praise for THE SMALL BACKS OF CHILDREN
“Yuknavitch is a gifted writer whose dizzying passages are often as compelling as they are grotesque.”
“Lidia Yuknavitch burns through sex, art, and war in The Small Backs of Children.”
“Lidia Yuknavitch’ s explosive new novel…is fierce in its vision, with captivating prose that carries its own momentum. Yuknavitch has created a reading experience that is uncomfortable and dazzling, with a vital intensity that grabs at the gutstrings.”
“The Small Backs of Children beautifully examines the fractures of loss and the myriad ways we can recover from it. ”
“Gorgeous, scary, and a breathtaking rush to read, this book is less a meditation than a provocation on the power and dangers of art.”
“Lidia Yuknavitch’s first novel for a big publisher is a big winner.”
“If you want a novel that is going to swallow you alive this summer, turn to Lidia Yuknavitch whose The Small Backs of Children is the kind of book that goes straight for your heart and your mind…This one is important.”
“The Small Backs of Children proves once again that Yuknavitch is witness to the kind of stories we ought to read.”
“[An example] of thrilling storytelling with universal appeal.”
“Yuknavitch has a point of view and a fragmented and fractured visionary elegance in her poetic, allusive punk-infused voice. She grabs readers by the throats and immerses them in an intense, wrenching fictive world, but lets them up for air through careful structuring and pacing.”
“In the latest book from Lidia Yuknavitch, she delves into the aftermath of conflict and tragedy, showing how one image can impact the lives of numerous characters...”
“Yuknavitch’s writing style works in absolutes and blanket statements like large swaths of color on a canvas…if you ask me to follow Yuknavitch’s plume into a raw, experimental work, I gladly will.”
“Yuknavitch writes about art, violence, sex, ferocity, willpower and womanhood with explosive force, in a language that evokes modern mythology.”
“The Small Backs of Children is deeply complex and layered, yet also deceptively simple…exquisite in its lyricism and its ability to articulate and amplify the experiences of suffering and survival.”
“Lidia Yuknavitch’s writing is a sizzle wire. Her fierce prose will jumpstart your heart and electrify your brain…and her new novel, The Small Backs of Children is a provocative and thrilling jolt of a book.”
“…this story packs a powerful punch. It may sound heavy but, trust us, everyone is going to be talking about this book.”