Published by Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group on May 24th 2016
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Published by Random House Publishing Group on June 14th 2016
Buy from IndieBound
The plot of Rufi Thorpe’s new novel, Dear Fang, With Love, winds itself across continents, through voices, and between generations. Vera, born to Lucas and Katya when they were just teenagers, joins her estranged father on a trip to Lithuania not long after a psychotic episode and diagnosis of bipolar disorder. Through both Lucas’s perspective and Vera’s letters to her boyfriend, Fang, Rufi Thorpe carries readers on a journey through a family’s fractured history and a girl’s unwinding.
While the Manson murders inspired the story of The Girls by Emma Cline, detailed cult dynamics and murderous motivations actually shift to the back burner. Instead, the novel is propelled by fourteen-year-old Evie’s gradual pull toward the orbit of a Manson-style cult in the summer of 1969. In hazy and sunsoaked passages, Emma Cline works to builds suspense around a character instead of step-by-step plot points.
“So much of desire, at that age, was a willful act. Trying so hard to slur the rough, disappointing edges of boys into the shape of someone we could love. We spoke of our desperate need for them with rote and familiar words, like we were reading lines from a play. Later I would see this: how impersonal and grasping our love was, pinging around the universe, hoping for a host to give form to our wishes.” ― Emma Cline, The Girls
What shines in both novels, however, is the writing. Specifically, the brilliant deep dive into the brainspace of a teenage girl. Though they exist in fictional universes decades and miles apart, with truly distinct voices, both Vera and Evie capture thoughts and emotions that will be familiar to many readers. The quirky plot of Dear Fang, With Love and mood-heavy character focus of The Girls are wildly different, but both highly recommended reads.