I loved Van den Berg's debut novel for many of the same reasons I have enjoyed her short stories. She writes about incomplete people searching for stability in their lives and often finding none. This story is ambiguous and haunting--a take on a science fiction trope with literary chops. For fans of The Road and Never Let Me Go--this is a great addition to the canon of literary dystopia.— Jeremy B.
After two acclaimed story collections, Laura van den Berg brings us "Find Me," her highly anticipated debut novel--a gripping, imaginative, darkly funny tale of a young woman struggling to find her place in the world.
Joy has no one. She spends her days working the graveyard shift at a grocery store outside Boston and nursing an addiction to cough syrup, an attempt to suppress her troubled past. But when a sickness that begins with memory loss and ends with death sweeps the country, Joy, for the first time in her life, seems to have an advantage: she is immune. When Joy's immunity gains her admittance to a hospital in rural Kansas, she sees a chance to escape her bleak existence. There she submits to peculiar treatments and follows seemingly arbitrary rules, forming cautious bonds with other patients--including her roommate, whom she turns to in the night for comfort, and twin boys who are digging a secret tunnel.
As winter descends, the hospital's fragile order breaks down and Joy breaks free, embarking on a journey from Kansas to Florida, where she believes she can find her birth mother, the woman who abandoned her as a child. On the road in a devastated America, she encounters mysterious companions, cities turned strange, and one very eerie house. As Joy closes in on Florida, she must confront her own damaged memory and the secrets she has been keeping from herself.
About the Author
Laura van den Berg was raised in Florida. Her first collection of stories, "What the World Will Look Like When All the Water Leaves Us," was a Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers selection and a finalist for the Frank O'Connor International Short Story Award. Her second collection of stories, "The Isle of Youth" (published by FSG Originals in 2013), received the Rosenthal Family Foundation Award for Fiction from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. "Find Me" is her first novel. She lives in the Boston area.