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Natalie is propelled through life by pica, a disorder that has her eating a wide variety of inedibles - from pencil shavings to foam peanuts to plastic doll parts. A lowly staff worker for the local news, she follows the inane demands of the station’s senile weatherman and comes home to an empty apartment, unless of course her father uses the spare key.
But Natalie’s past stalks her at every turn. With her mother recently killed in a tragic house fire, and her runaway brother, Eliot, missing for years, Natalie and her father Boris only have each other. When a cryptic voicemail implicates her mother’s Gypsy roots in her untimely death, Natalie begins to consider the demons that consumed her mother, and drove her brother away. With increasing suspicion, she traces her mother's mysterious family legacy back to the Gypsy neighborhood she left behind.
As a wary Gypsy community tracks her every move, Natalie resolves to confront the dysfunctional and tragic figure at the heart of the mystery: the dead matriarch herself.
Smart, elegiac writing, and a captivating drive, make this a wonderful literary thriller with a hero as intriguing as the mystery.
What the critics say
"A debut novel about a strangely appealing heroine whose lonely search for understanding plunges her into the dark weirdness of her family history...an unusual, strikingly written novel about a young woman’s desire for understanding and love and how that longing remains familiar in even the most eccentric of circumstances." (Kirkus Reviews)
"Natalie is an engaging, unforgettable character, courageous in confronting the uncertainties of her life, wry and compassionate. Like so many novels in which characters embark on a quest, they are really searching for and most likely to find themselves. This is a literary mystery, not bound by the typical mystery/thriller conventions and, paradoxically, therefore, more revealing." (Crime Fiction Lover)