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Girls I Know (Paperback)
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In the winter of 2001, 29-year-old Walt Steadman survives a shooting in his favorite Boston cafe that leaves four people dead. In the aftermath, Walt forms two new relationships: one with Ginger Newton, a privileged, reckless, Harvard undergraduate who is interviewing women about their lives for a book called Girls I Know, and the other with 11-year-old Mercedes Bittles, whose parents were killed in the restaurant. Wounded but resilient, all three must deal with loss and grief and the consequences that come when their lives change in unexpected ways.
About the Author
Douglas Trevor is the author of the novel Girls I Know (Sixoneseven Books, 2013), and the short story collection The Thin Tear in the Fabric of Space (University of Iowa Press, 2005). Thin Tear won the 2005 Iowa Short Fiction Award and was a finalist for the 2006 Hemingway Foundation/Pen Award for First Fiction. His short fiction has appeared in the Paris Review, Glimmer Train, Epoch, Black Warrior Review, New England Review, and about a dozen other literary magazines. He lives in Ann Arbor, where he is an associate professor of Renaissance literature and creative writing in the English Department at the University of Michigan.
“Affecting novel of love, coming-of-age and theistic ontology . . . As much a love song sung to Boston as a conventional novel, and a welcome debut.”
“This is a very promising new novelist, well worth getting acquainted with.”
Alan Caruba, Bookviews
“This impressive first novel grew out of an award-winning short story of the same name by University of Michigan-Ann Arbor Professor Trevor (The Thin Tear in the Fabric of Space) . . . [An] affecting and smoothly written debut novel.”
“Be prepared for a full range of emotions in Girls I Know: friendship, loyalty, love, family, and above all, the mysteries at every corner of one’s history that make us who we are. Douglas Trevor is a writer with a true compassion for human hearts.”
Yiyun Li, author of Gold Boy, Emerald Girl
“The balancing act between boyish curiosity and the intellectual curiosities in which we cloak them has never been more enjoyable to indulge than inGirls I Know. If there’s a life lesson in the poems of John Donne, Robert Lowell, Gwendolyn Brooks and other great poets, Walt Steadman, and the cast of characters he believes he can save through poetry, will teach us. Doug Trevor creates this world, and he manages to keep it fun, too. This story’s mystery, the act of ‘interviewing women,’ both the need to save through language and the struggles to talk to one another, all create a brilliant constellation from which no one can turn away. Trevor treats the past and the present with equal urgency through his lyric
language, he manages to model how we learn from the books we read, and he makes us believe through each character, even the minor ones, that life is worth taking a chance on. These characters draw from Aquinas, right along with us, ‘that even the most fallen reflect something benevolent and beautiful.’ And Girls I Know is truly beautiful.”
A. Van Jordan, author of The Cineaste
“Girls I Know is, at heart, a love story. Love of the city of Boston, love of family and friends and women. But mostly it’s about learning to love yourself. And like all good love stories, it breaks your heart and then lifts you up as it navigates and ultimately celebrates that crazy thing we call love.”
Ann Hood, author of The Knitting Circle
“Deeply moving and ebulliently funny, this dazzling debut novel is both a Valentine to a community, a tender probing of horrific loss, and a testament to how even the rawest of hearts can heal when they’re lucky enough to find themselves in synch with others. Totally wonderful, original, and as stunning as a bolt of lightning.”
Caroline Leavitt, author of Pictures of You
“By turns funny, flirtatious and fierce, Girls I Know is above all a work of real heart. I can’t recall when I last fell so in love with a novel’s characters, but if I had to compare Douglas Trevor to anyone he puts me in mind of a young John Irving.”
Peter Ho Davies, author of The Welsh Girl
“Poetry is Walt’s greatest love, and the novel is also a poem for Boston, in a way. For those of us who have spent only brief periods of time there, it brings neighborhoods such as Cambridge, Watertown, and Jamaica Plain alive in our hearts and imaginations in ways the news media cannot. I found Girls I Know to be a very moving and hopeful novel, examining and embracing all that shatters within us, and all that gives us strength.”