Laura van den Berg is the author of What the World Will Look Like When All the Water Leaves Us. A Florida native, she now lives in the Boston area and is at work on a novel. You can visit her website at www.lauravandenberg.com.
Laura van den Berg’s gorgeous new book, The Isle of Youth, explores the lives of women mired in secrecy and deception. From a newlywed caught in an inscrutable marriage, to private eyes working a baffling case in South Florida, to a teenager who assists her magician mother and steals from the audience, the characters in these bewitching stories are at once vulnerable and dangerous, bighearted and ruthless, and they will do what it takes to survive.
Each tale is spun with elegant urgency, and the reader grows attached to the marginalized young women in these stories—women grappling with the choices they’ve made and searching for the clues to unlock their inner worlds. This is the work of a fearless writer whose stories feel both magical and mystical, earning her the title of “sorceress” from her readers. Be prepared to fall under her spell.
“In The Isle of Youth, a group of young women narrators seek to understand the people in their lives as a means of understanding themselves. Magically, Laura van den Berg turns a group of lost souls into a beautiful and compelling read.” —Ann Patchett, author of State of Wonder and Bel Canto
“Laura van den Berg is one of the most freakishly talented young writers at work today, and a master of the short story form. Hers are deliciously unnerving, moving, and monstrous tales.” —Karen Russell, author of Vampires in the Lemon Grove and Swamplandia!
“I’ve never met Laura, but it seems like we would come across a new story by her every month or so during our reading for Best American Nonrequired Reading. They were uniformly excellent—emotionally complex, very raw—but always with a mixture of pathos and humour that made me think of Lorrie Moore.” —Dave Eggers, Huck magazine
“The Isle of Youth is simply astonishing. Each story is more surprising, more urgent, more savagely frank than the last. This is an awe-inspiring and necessary collection from one of the most sure-footed writers of our time.” —Claire Vaye Watkins, author of Battleborn
“This collection is rich, surprising, and a lot of fun. The Isle of Youth plays with crime stories of a kind, noir tales of deceit and betrayal, but really each investigates the spaces, the distances, that keep human beings from ever truly knowing one another. Van den Berg is a ridiculously talented writer, and this wonderful book provides the proof.” —Victor LaValle, author of The Devil in Silver