The Book of Speculation
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About the Author
"In this dazzling novel, the immensely talented Erika Swyler sweeps seamlessly through generations and centuries, moving deftly back and forth and weaving the strands into an exquisite tapestry. I was immediately swept up in this quirky, raucous, and bewitching family saga. Swyler's prose is so polished and elegant it reads effortlessly, even as her distinct voice shines through--her rendering of the sea and its savage appetite rivals that of Annie Proulx's in THE SHIPPING NEWS. I absolutely loved this book, and consumed it whole. My only complaint is that I am already on the edge of my seat waiting for her next."
--Sara Gruen, author of WATER FOR ELEPHANTS and AT THE WATER'S EDGE
--NPR.org "THE BOOK OF SPECULATION is a luscious experience--dark, sweet, and wild."
--Katherine Dunn, author of GEEK LOVE "A good book is magical. A piece of our heart stays tucked inside its lines when we return the book to its place on our shelf. Good novels about good books can be even more special, doubling the fun with two tomes to love. And when the book within the book is actually magical, as it is - or may be - in Erika Swyler's The Book of Speculation, well, let the wild read start."
--Star-Telegram "A wonderful novel, full of mystery through the centuries [with] great details about carnival life, similar to The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern."
--The Daily American "Debut author Swyler creates a melancholy world with hints of magic at the edges. . . Fans of. . . Erin Morgenstern's THE NIGHT CIRCUS, Katherine Dunn's GEEK LOVE, or Katherine Howe's THE PHYSICK BOOK OF DELIVERANCE DANE, won't want to leave this festival."
--Library Journal "Illustrations by the author add even more atmosphere to her prose."
--Booklist "The Book of Speculation is one of the best books I've had the privilege to read. While this is partly due to a weakness on my part for circus stories, it is mostly due to Erika Swyler's striking writing style and intricately woven narrative. Erika Swyler writes with a whimsical, romantic prose that is beautiful to read, yet her story is grounded in the hard realities of life. Her characters are likeable, yet realistically flawed and their relationships with each other are complex and interesting. A subtle theme throughout the book features characters who, despite their best intentions, end up hurting the very people they love and are trying to protect. I would recommend The Book of Speculation to anyone who likes to read and even a few people who don't."
--San Diego Book Review As Simon, a lonely research librarian, searches frantically for the key to a curse that might be killing the women in his family, he learns strange and fascinating secrets about their past. A tale full of magic and family mystery, The Book of Speculation will keep you up all night reading.
--Isaac Fitzgerald, BuzzFeed "Mermaids, tarot card readers, a wild man and other carnival characters work their literary magic in this debut novel...packed with fresh, unexpected marvels."
--Oprah.com "With its puzzling story, circus sideshow and romantic plot lines, The Book of Speculation has plenty of attractions and will appeal to many. And if you're a lover of books about books, you've got another fun tome to add to your to-be-read list."
--Toronto Star "While a book whose narrative hinges on drowning might not seem like a great beach read, Swyler's debut effort, redolent of salty ocean air, is just that...Its clever plot-fueled by a musty book and a powerful set of tarot cards-and Swyler's wonderful descriptions keep the pages swimming along."
--Entertainment Weekly "A strikingly written debut, The Book of Speculation is reminiscent of The Night Circus, but with more grit and darkness....[Swyler] proves her storytelling skills here, as generations and lifetimes are seamlessly woven together, and a beautiful narrative of magic, love, death and loss unfolds with every page."
--BookPage, Top Pick "A wonderful novel, full of mystery through the centuries [with] great details about carnival life, similar to The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern."
--The Daily American "Whimsically dark...a fully formed mythos chock full of curses, omens, and coincidences." --Publishers Weekly "Part sideshow and part thriller, the smart story follows Simon as he races to discover the secret behind his family's curse with only days before his troubled, beloved sister could become its next victim."
--Dujour Magazine "A strikingly written debut, THE BOOK OF SPECULATION is reminiscent of The Night Circus, but with more grit and darkness...[Swyler] proves her storytelling skills here, as generations and lifetimes are seamlessly woven together, and a beautiful narrative of magic, love, death and loss unfolds with every page."
--Haley Herfurth, BookPage "Quirky and big-hearted, this novel creates an indelible portrait of two siblings who are each determined to save the other."