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The Poet's House  By  cover art

The Poet's House

By: Jean Thompson
Narrated by: Jesse Vilinsky
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Publisher's Summary

“A closely observed, droll, coming-of-age story . . . An absolute keeper.”—Maureen Corrigan, Fresh Air

"A page-turning narrative with laugh-out-loud scenes, and ultimately a hopeful, affirming book about how words can stir the mystery in us.”—Julia Alvarez, author of Afterlife

A warm and witty story of a young woman who gets swept up in the rivalries and love affairs of a dramatic group of writers.

Carla is stuck. In her twenties and working for a landscaper, she’s been told she’s on the wrong path by everyone—from her mom, who wants her to work at the hospital, to her boyfriend, who is dropping not-so-subtle hints that she should be doing something that matters.

­Then she is hired for a job at the home of Viridian, a lauded and lovely aging poet who introduces Carla to an eccentric circle of writers. At first she is perplexed by their predilection for reciting lines in conversation, the stories of their many liaisons, their endless wine-soaked nights. Soon, though, she becomes enamored with this entire world: with Viridian, whose reputation has been defined by her infamous affair with a male poet, Mathias; with Viridian’s circle; and especially with the power of words, the “ache and hunger that can both be awakened and soothed by a poem,” a hunger that Carla feels sharply. When a fight emerges over a vital cache of poems that Mathias wrote about Viridian, Carla gets drawn in. But how much will she sacrifice for a group that may or may not see her as one of their own?

A delightfully funny look at the art world—sometimes petty, sometimes transactional, sometimes transformative—The Poet’s House is also a refreshingly candid story of finding one’s way, with words as our lantern in the dark.

©2022 Jean Thompson (P)2022 Algonquin Books

Critic Reviews

“Wry, canny, and delectable . . . As a tribute to the soul-saving value of art, a cri de coeur for women striving to make authentic lives, and a pipeline of guidance from the elders to the emerging, The Poet’s House offers many rooms, infinitely worth the tour.”—The San Francisco Chronicle 

“The brilliantly rendered mise-en-scène of quarrelsome, ego-ridden yet touchingly fragile poets and the literary entrepreneurs who circle around them makes a vivid backdrop for this classic coming-of-age tale. More thoughtful, elegantly written fiction in the classic realist tradition by the gifted Thompson.”Kirkus Reviews, starred review 

"Ever insightful, imaginative, compassionate, and funny, Thompson is a virtuoso of thorny interactions between wholly realized characters rife with contradictions. And she is so in her element, bringing this richly dimensional book-anchored mise-en-scène to life with lacerating wit and rueful tenderness while adeptly interleaving a poet's long, covert battle against sexism and regret with the verdant tale of a young woman taking root in an unexpectedly sustaining realm."Booklist, starred review 

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