DEAR FANG, WITH LOVE

From the acclaimed author of The Girls from Corona del Mar, a sprawling, ambitious new novel about a young father who takes his teenage daughter to Europe, hoping that an immersion in history might help them forget his past mistakes and her uncertain future.

 

     Lucas and Katya were boarding school seniors when, blindingly in love, they decided to have a baby. Seventeen years later, after years of absence, Lucas is a weekend dad, newly involved in his daughter Vera's life. But after Vera suffers a terrifying psychotic break at a high school party, Lucas takes her to Lithuania, his grandmother's homeland, for the summer. Here, in the city of Vilnius, Lucas hopes to save Vera from the sorrow of her diagnosis. As he uncovers a secret about his grandmother, a Home Army rebel who escaped Stutthof, Vera searches for answers of her own. Why did Lucas abandon her as a baby? What really happened the night of her breakdown? And who can she trust with the truth? Skillfully weaving family mythology and Lithuanian history with a story of mental illness, inheritance, young love, and adventure, Rufi Thorpe has written a wildly accomplished, stunningly emotional book.

Reviews

“A deeply-detailed, beautiful, often hilarious novel, Dear Fang, With Love unflinchingly examines mental illness, the Holocaust, the power of family myths, and the relationships between generations. A captivating, compulsively readable and utterly original book.”

—Mary Pauline Lowry, The Huffington Post 

 

“Thorpe’s voice, language, and attention to detail sucked me into the world she’s created. Thorpe manages to tackle dark issues—estranged families, mental illness, and failed relationships—with a unique sense of humor and big-hearted empathy.”

—Michelle King, Electric Literature

 

“Vera and Lucas and their tour companions will live on in the reader’s imagination, all of them longing for something that seems out of reach, or if achieved, then grasped too late… As much as the characters live on, so too will Vilnius. Ms. Thorpe evokes it beautifully... She is both a skilled and intelligent writer: an adept of vivid prose and deft pacing. This book is her second novel. Let’s hope for more to come. She is definitely an author to watch.”

—Claire Hopley, The Washington Times 

 

“Heroine Vera is a brilliant, witty teenage who travels to Lithuania with her father after suffering a psychotic break. Together they confront their fraught past and her spiraling bipolar disorder.”

O Magazine 

 

“A novel about a fractured family and the troubling nature of mental illness, secrets, and shared history… The novel’s distinctive voices are addictive.”

—Ilana Masad, Read it Forward

 

“Lucas is an affable and kind-hearted narrator whose perspective make the dark subjects of the novel accessible. Thorpe’s second novel is recommended for all fiction readers.” 

Library Journal 

 

“Startling… [Vera] is so unapologetically appealing, someone you root for and see the struggle of the muscle under the skin… it’s the language, writing, and characterization that spring the novel from a well-told-tale into one of the finest releases of 2016… Thorpe is a major talent, and reading her work will bring to mind other writers who deftly control their universes with such clarity and acuity, like Donna Tartt or Ann Patchett.”

—Martin McClellan, The Seattle Review of Books 

  

“Rufi Thorpe’s Dear Fang, With Love resists all labels…Vera and her father are each infused with a searing wit, and their time in Lithuania, as they battle with each other and with themselves, is breathtaking to behold.”

Signature 

 

“This book weaves an emotional web that will draw you in completely.”

Bustle 

 

“An honest account… Thorpe, the highly regarded author of The Girls from Corona del Mar sets this tale of parental guilt and teenage angst against the town’s WWII past, adding true-life authenticity to an already stirring story.” 

—Cortney Ophoff, Booklist 

 

“[Thorpe’s] second novel, which blends the cultural history of The Tiger's Wife with the madcap energy of Dave Eggers, just might be her breakout book…. Takes readers on a father-daughter road trip to Lithuania, where 17-year-old Vera and her father, Lucas, ponder the meaning of family and the way past mistakes and family history can seep into the present.”

BookPage 

 

"Tremendous... Showcase[s] Thorpe’s fabulous versatility, insight, and humor... While the themes of the book--mania, the Holocaust, and the devastating number of ways that any parent-child dynamic can go awry--are undeniably dark, Thorpe’s prose is light, often hilarious, and unshakably grounded in the concrete details of daily life... Thorpe has written an absolute winner." 

Publishers Weekly (starred review) 

 

“Switching between Lucas’ endearing narration and Vera’s ultrateenage letters home to her boyfriend, Fang, the novel weaves a strange and strangely intoxicating web of histories, both personal and geopolitical… Melancholic and whimsical at once, Thorpe’s novel is… wholly original.”

Kirkus Reviews 

 

“Dear Fang, With Love is a beautiful story about mental illness and love.”

PopSugar, “26 Books You Should Read This Spring.” 

 

“A refreshing and impressive use of voice. A very funny book because of, rather than despite, its close attention to mental illness, the Holocaust, the relationship between children and parents.”

—Molly McArdle, Brooklyn Magazine

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