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'The Borrower' Is Book Lovers' Delight

Rebecca Makkai discusses debut novel at Next Chapter

Jun. 28, 2011
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Book lovers are sure to savor The Borrower, the debut novel by Chicago writer Rebecca Makkai. Main character Lucy is a children's librarian who delights in recommending just the right book and whose intelligent speech is peppered with literary references. But this discontented 26-year-old woman didn't set out to become a librarian. Then again, she also didn't anticipate befriending a maladjusted 10-year-old with a fierce love of literature.

Young Ian is living under the shadow of his God-fearing mother and wants nothing more than to lose himself in books. After Lucy learns of the stern fundamentalism of Ian's mother, the bond between the two is cemented. Even with its almost inconceivable plotline (librarian steals away with 10-year-old misfit on a cross-country adventure?), The Borrower is held together by the pair's zealous love of reading.

Lucy serves as a foil to Ian's mother, whose overbearing style and recent decision to enroll her precocious son in weekly anti-gay classes makes her an obvious target for dislike. When Lucy and Ian decide to set off on a road trip, both characters find themselves on an enlightening journey of self-discovery. The Borrower is overflowing with tender moments that voracious readers will appreciate.

The Borrower
, Rebecca Makkai's first novel, has garnered rave reviews in O Magazine, BookPage and Booklist, among others. Makkai's works have appeared in The Best American Short Stories and journals like Ploughshares and New England Review. Makkai will visit Next Chapter Bookshop on June 30 at 7 p.m.


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