You Were Made for This
by Sacks, Michelle

Visiting her childhood best friend's home in Sweden, where she is warmly welcomed and begins to appreciate the community's simple routines, Frank begins to notice treacherous undercurrents beneath her friend's social appearance of domestic tranquility. 50,000 first printing.

Michelle Sacks' first short story collection Stone Baby was published by Northwestern University Press in 2017. Her earlier writing has been published in African Pens and New Contrast, and by Akashic Books. Born in South Africa, Michelle holds a master's degree in literature and film from the University of Cape Town.

Merry and Sam Hurley, with their baby son, Conor, are living the perfect life. They left jobs in New York to move to Sweden, where Sam inherited a house, so Merry gardens and cooks what they grow, baking bread and making Conor's baby food, while Sam tries to start a new career. But there are cracks in this picture: Sam, fired from his assistant professorship at Columbia for an improper relationship with a student, continues his infidelity, while Merry holds secrets about her son and her lack of feelings for him. Then beautiful, single Frank (her nickname for Frances) comes to visit. She and Merry have been as close as sisters since childhood, best friends who bring out the worst in each other. Frank, who's smitten with Conor and flirting with Sam, generally takes over when Merry gets the flu. Tragedy that seemed likely early on now starts to seem inevitable, but its resolution remains a question until the end. An insightful and skillfully constructed novel, with three alternating narrators, this will keep readers rapt to the final page. Copyright 2018 Booklist Reviews.

A young family moves to Sweden to pursue an idyllic life in Sacks' debut novel. When Sam inherits a cottage from his stepgrandmother, he and his pregnant wife barely hesitate but pack up their lives in Brooklyn and move, excited to raise their child in this place of ice-cold lakes and dappled sunlight. Merry spends her days picking fresh produce from the garden and baking homemade treats, taking baby Conor for long outings in the woods, and Sam works to begin a new career in documentary film. But from the very beginning of the novel, as both characters take turns narrating the story, it's clear there's something rotten at the core of this perfection. When Merry's best friend from childhood, Frank, comes for a visit, she can immediately see the ugliness beneath this facade. She knows Merry too well, knows her history of slipping from persona to persona, and she can see Sam for what he is. But Frank has her own secrets, and as her voice joins the others in narrating the story, it becomes clear that she's suffering for her own sins and may not be able—or willing—to save anyone. Sacks has crafted a beguiling and frightening modern fairy tale, an Eden story that presents an Adam and Eve who were never innocent and who try to make over the world on their own terms only to find that evil thrives even in the most ideal of settings. Sacks' writing is at once lush in description but also spare; she uses the white space around the words to nurture a sense of dread. Hard to read but also bewitchingly hard to put down—a fitting contradiction in a novel that explores the corruption at the heart of beauty. Copyright Kirkus 2018 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.

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