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Inverno: A Novel

Inverno: A Novel

Current price: $25.00
Publication Date: January 9th, 2024
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Available for Order


A daring, heartbreaking novel, Inverno is the book that J. D. Salinger’s Franny Glass might have written a few decades into her adulthood.

Caroline waited for fifteen minutes in the snow. After a little time had passed, she was simply waiting to see what would happen. It was entirely possible he would not come. If he did not come, she would be in a different story than the one she had imagined, but it was possible, she knew, to imagine anything.

Inverno is a love story that stretches across decades. Inverno is also the story of Caroline, waiting in Central Park in a snowstorm for her phone to ring, yards from where, thirty years ago, Alastair, as a boy, hid in the trees. Will he call? Won’t he? The story moves the way the mind does: years flash by in an instant—now we are in the perilous world of fairy tale, now stranded anew in childhood, with its sorrows and harsh words. Ever present are the complicated negotiations of the heart.

This brilliantly original novel by Cynthia Zarin, author of An Enlarged Heart, is a kaleidoscope in which the past and the present shatter. Elliptical and inventive in the mode of Elizabeth Hardwick’s Sleepless Nights, Inverno is miraculous and startling. It asks, How does love make and unmake a life?

About the Author

Cynthia Zarin is the author of five books of poetry, most recently Orbit and The Ada Poems, as well as five books for children and two essay collections, Two Cities and An Enlarged Heart: A Personal History. Her honors include a Guggenheim Fellowship, a National Endowment for the Arts Literature Fellowship, the Peter I. B. Lavan Younger Poets Award, an Ingram Merrill Foundation Award for Poetry, and a Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Poetry. A longtime contributor to The New Yorker, she teaches at Yale University and lives in New York City.

Praise for Inverno: A Novel

Praise for Inverno

"I would in fact recommend this book to any reader for whom a chief pleasure to be found in literature is beautiful sentences. The elegance and incantatory power of Zarin’s prose, along with her virtuosity at observation, are undeniable . . . Love and time. Each is commonly said to have the power to heal, but Inverno is all about that other power they share: to annihilate . . . To see the chaos of suffering shaped into something beautiful is one of the main reasons we turn to art. There is not a banal sentence or purple patch to be found in this book, which only a poet could have written." —Sigrid Nunez, New York Times Book Review (Editors' Choice)

"A beautiful, tricky, compressed gem of a book that seems determined to upend your expectations of it . . . Though Inverno is Zarin’s first novel, it carries the grace and intellectual heft of her decades as a poet . . . Its stream-of-consciousness narration evokes Virginia Woolf or Italo Calvino." —Mark Athitakis, The Washington Post

"Incantatory . . . This book invites us to keep reading, on the alert for deliberately dropped gems that mark a path onward. As with Ms. Zarin’s poetry, close attention proves rewarding—the small revelations accumulate. Inverno gradually builds to a heartbreaking portrait of a mind trying to wrap itself around a tenacious yet hopeless dynamic . . . This shimmering exploration of time and memory adroitly captures the persistent ache of intractable yearning." —Heller McAlpin, The Wall Street Journal

"Zarin’s point, perhaps, is that life-changing love affairs mushroom out beyond the moments spent together. Full of gorgeous descriptions, fascinating characters, and impressive allusions to fairy tales, Robert Redford movies, Girl Scouts, Blondie, and more, Inverno is intellectual, acrobatic, and fascinating." —Annie Tully, Booklist

"There is no straight path to (and from) love; Zarin’s prose reminds us to treat this idea with reverence—to tell this story, no matter how difficult, both on and off the page."—Rachel Schwartzmann, BOMB Magazine

"A sly and beguiling love story doubling as a meditation on the nature of time . . . [A] lovely exploration of the limits of love and the unlimited scope of memory and imagination." —Publishers Weekly

"Zarin’s mesmerizing voice (could anyone else dedicate a full page to the sensuous nature of the black rotary telephone?) ensnares the imagination to the point where readers will be happy to imagine the plot that suits them best . . . [Inverno] will thrill those who revel in intoxicating language." —Library Journal

"A brilliant incantation to undying love, where love is a promise that time can't keep but cannot break. Love does not heal, is not muted by regrets, shame, or denial, and is forever revived where we wanted it chilled and dead. To use Cynthia Zarin’s word, love annihilates." —André Aciman, author of Call Me by Your Name

"Haunting, elegant, driven through with yearning and simmering tension: this is a beautifully evocative reckoning with the memories, repetitions and fictions that form our lives." —Francesca Wade, author of Square Haunting: Five Women Writers in London Between the Wars

"Cynthia Zarin’s Inverno is a dazzlingly beautiful, heartbreaking invocation of love, life, and the infinite ways in which the two intersect. Writers capable of producing fabulous prose are rare. Writers who bring a laser-sharp eye to the complexities of living in the world among others, and to the various collisions of past and present, are rare as well. A writer like Zarin, who can do both, is the rarest of all. I loved every line in this book." —Michael Cunningham, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Hours and A Wild Swan and Other Tales

Praise for Cynthia Zarin

"There were moments throughout An Enlarged Heart that reminded me of Didion at her elegiac best, which is perhaps the finest compliment I know how to pay an essayist." —Christopher Beha, The New York Times

“Zarin knits her stories together with an appealing and deeply intimate voice.” —Suzanne Koven, The Boston Globe