Published by Riverhead on August 4th 2015
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After years of cycling through tenants in her Brooklyn brownstone, Edith comes to expect the four apartments in her building will be empty not long after they are filled. But as she ages, she fails to notice a defined group forming in her halls and settling down for good: Eddie, a lonely, washed-up comic; Paulie, a tender-hearted young man with Williams syndrome; Thomas, an artist adjusting to life after a stroke; and Adeleine, an anxious and reclusive young woman. Over time, the four tenants discover their unique connections, both to each other and Edith, just as the stability of their home is threatened.
Infinite Home is an absolute wonder. Kathleen Alcott knows how to weave words into sentences so lovely they often cause pause and demand a re-read. But the novel doesn’t hinge only on her gorgeous writing—she spins her words into the intricacies of characters, creating fully realized, unique personalities from the smallest details.
Choosing a single quote that captures Alcott’s talents seems nearly impossible, and whittling it down is even harder.
“But he adored Edith for plenty of other reasons: She understood slowness. She knew how to wait for the kettle to warm, how to move across a room and appreciate each photograph and plant within it. She was careful about laughter, went to it only when it truly called to her. The anecdotes she offered were always well-formed, compact things he felt he could carry with him. ‘Edith,’ Thomas had said on several occasions, in moments drunk on self-pity. ‘Sometimes I just don’t know! What recommends the rest of my life?’ She was the only one he exclaimed around. When he said such things she made a crumpled face, waved her hand through the air to banish his wallowing as it bounced off the high ceilings. ‘Dear heart,’ she said. ‘Of course you don’t know. How could you? But have you ever been astounded by what you knew was coming?'”
The novel’s plot moves forward with many shifting, sometimes nonsensical, pieces that require some suspension of disbelief, but Alcott makes this easy with the hazy, nearly dreamlike world she creates for her characters. Though their lives are far from perfect, Alcott lifts them up to shed light on the beauty of change, challenge, and imperfection. Wonderfully balanced between sweet and sentimental, with both weight and whimsy, Infinite Home is easily a new favorite for 2015.