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Cruel Beautiful World

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Cruel Beautiful World

October 2016

Caroline Leavitt always brings a fresh approach to her writing. From the moment that I open one of her books, I know I am going to be in for something special and unexpected. CRUEL BEAUTIFUL WORLD is set in the early '70s. Lucy is 16 when she runs away from home with William, one of her teachers, to live on a farm in rural Pennsylvania. It’s all about love, until it’s not. Her much older half-sister, Iris, who she knows as her aunt, and her teenage sister, Charlotte, are frantic to find her. Love, loss and longing all figure into the story, which is written in Caroline’s signature style that pulls apart everyday lives and finds the deeper stories in them by getting into her characters' hearts and heads. Each page begs you to read another.

The characters are so well-formed that you can see them --- and ache for them when you are not cheering them on. Love comes close, then flees so many times. You want to reconstruct the dialogue to keep the emotional unraveling from happening across the generations, but Caroline tugs you in another hopeful direction, only to then spin you again.

One quick note: A reader wrote to ask about the commas in the title on the spine of the book (we have not seen them referenced in reviews or copy online, but be sure to note them on the spine). I asked Caroline about them. She said, “I just liked the look of the title better with commas and also the sound of it with pause, and also I am deeply superstitious and all my titles now have to be three words!” I look forward to her next three-word-titled book.

Cruel Beautiful World
by Caroline Leavitt

  • Publication Date: October 4, 2016
  • Genres: Fiction, Historical Fiction
  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Algonquin Books
  • ISBN-10: 1616203633
  • ISBN-13: 9781616203634