Daughters of the Air
Tatiana "Pluta" Spektor was a mostly happy, if awkward, young girl--until her sociologist father was disappeared during Argentina's Dirty War. Sent a world away by her grieving mother to attend boarding school outside New York City, Pluta wrestles alone with the unresolved tragedy and at last runs away: to the streets of Brooklyn in 1980, where she figuratively--and literally--spreads her wings. Told with haunting fabulist imagery by debut novelist Anca L. Szilagyi, this searing tale of love, loss, estrangement, and coming of age is an unflinching exploration of the personal devastation wrought by political repression.
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"A riveting and magical lament: for childhood, for the lost, and for the disappeared. Szilagyi has written a heartbreaking pageturner, rich in history and humanity."
--Sean Michaels, author of Us Conductors, winner of the Giller Prize
"Her work feels like a fairy tale--the sort of thing you'd find handwritten on a tiny scroll . . . under a mushroom in the middle of a forest on the longest day of the year."
--Seattle Review of Books
"Simultaneously elegiac and remarkably propulsive, Daughters of the Air tells the story of Tatiana (aka Pluta), a girl attempting to break away from her past while haunted by the memory of her father, who was "disappeared" by the Argentine government. The book offers a moving and memorable exploration of how the traumas of history burrow into individuals and fester, sprouting strange and sometimes even lovely phenomena."
--Peter Mountford, author of A Young Man's Guide to Late Capitalism and The Dismal Science
"Dirty--the war in Argentina. Dirty--the father's disappearance. Dirty--the mother's emotional withdrawal from her daughter. Dirty--the creaky Coney Island Wonder Wheel, the gritty New York City streets, and the polluted Gowanus Canal. Pluta, the teenage heroine of Daughters of the Air, flees from one dark place to others darker still, from one unfulfilled promise of escape to another. Yet in art, in opera, in the lusciousness of Anca Szilagyi's language, she soars."
--Maya Sonenberg, author of Voices from the Blue Hotel and Cartographies
"Anca Szilagyi writes with an elegant economy that gives her work a moving urgency and a lushness that is uplifting. Crafting characters and moments of unexpected brilliance, Anca weaves narratives imbued with an original beauty. A pure delight."
--Chris Abani, author of The Secret History of Las Vegas and Sanctificum