Thirty-four and decidedly independent, Renata has been known to keep her involvement with people—men in particular—to a minimum. Even her job at the library keeps her at a remove from the uncertainty of trusting other people with the stories of her past. Instead she loses herself in language, ever measuring the integrity of words against lived experience. Then Jack, patient, solid, and sexy, enters her life. One bright September morning, as Renata walks across the Brooklyn Bridge to work, the sky bursts open and change comes without warning. It quickly becomes clear in the days ahead that Renata cannot keep memories of her buried past—of a twin sister, a betrayal, of family truths too ugly to acknowledge—at bay. Written with tremendous compassion and imagination, informed by an abiding love for the people of New York, and crafted by a master storyteller at the height of her powers, The Writing on the Wall is a profoundly engaging novel about how one woman saw—and we all continue to ponder—the defining event of our times.
The Writing on the Wall
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"[T]his is also a richly nuanced love story, a tale of earned trust and courageous receptivity in a time of fanaticism and war." —Booklist Starred Review
LYNNE SHARON SCHWARTZ is the author of nineteen books, including Leaving Brooklyn (nominated for a PEN/Faulkner Award) and Rough Strife (nominated for the PEN/Hemingway First Novel Award). She has received awards from the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the New York State Foundation for the Arts. She lives in New York City.
“Schwartz is a connoisseur of anguish, especially survivor’s guilt, yet she is also an adept choreographer of romance. Incisive, unafraid to flirt with melodrama in pursuit of a compelling story, acutely descriptive yet to the point, she now brings to fiction the era-defining tragedy of September 11, 2001… Schwartz evokes in electrifying detail the deep shock felt in the wake of the attacks, intuiting the psychological and spiritual dimensions of everyone’s obsession with TV coverage, the creation of “impromptu memorials,” and the longing to return to normal routines. But this is also a richly nuanced love story, a tale of earned trust and courageous receptivity in a time of fanaticism and war.” —Booklist Starred Review
“The aftermath of the World Trade Center attack provides a traumatic backdrop to Schwartz’s latest novel, an intellectually evocative and emotionally trenchant exploration of troubled intimacy and the constitutive effects of language… With Renata’s complex balance of intellectual skepticism, emotional fragility and street smarts, Schwartz continues to show herself a rigorous novelist.” —Publishers Weekly