Author(s): Rebecca Makkai
A fabulous debut novel about the stories we read and the ones we tell ourselve.
In this delightful, funny and moving first novel, a librarian and a young boy obsessed with reading take to the road. Lucy Hull, a 26-year-old children's librarian in Hannibal, Missouri, finds herself both kidnapper and kidnapped when her favourite patron, 10-year-old Ian Drake, runs away from home. The precocious Ian is addicted to reading, but needs Lucy's help to smuggle books past his overbearing mother, who has enrolled Ian in weekly anti-gay classes. Lucy, a rebel at heart beneath her librarian's exterior, stumbles into a moral dilemma when she finds Ian camped out in the library after hours, with a knapsack of provisions and an escape plan. Desperate to save him from the Drakes, Lucy allows herself to be hijacked by Ian. The odd pair embark on an improvised road trip from Missouri to Vermont, with ferrets and an inconvenient boyfriend thrown in their path. Along the way, Lucy struggles to make peace with her Russian immigrant father and his fugitive past, and is forced to use his shady connections to escape discovery. But is it just Ian who is running away? Who is the strange man on their tail? And should Lucy be trying to save a boy from his own parents?
Rebecca Makkai was born in Skokie, Illinois in 1978, and spent much of her early childhood placidly attending linguistics conferences with her two professor parents. She earned her BA in English from Washington and Lee University in 1999, and her MA from Middlebury College’s Bread Loaf School of English in 2004. She has taught elementary and high school students since 2000, and has worked at literary magazines and, in graduate school, as a part-time librarian. She lives north of Chicago with her husband, two young children and a large dog, and spends her summers in Vermont.