Ms. Hempel Chronicles by Sarah Shun-lien Bynum
Ms. Hempel Chronicles
by Sarah Shun-lien Bynum
$23.00 List Price
Scholars have argued that childhood is a relatively recent invention, a concept that didn’t exist until the seventeenth century. If that’s the case, perhaps adulthood is equally suspect. Wouldn’t we be better off admitting that “grown-ups” are merely oversize, car-driving, money-juggling kids, instead of pretending to an ascendancy we rarely merit? The idea that we’re all just aging, idiosyncratic children snatching at happiness is central to Ms. Hempel Chronicles, Sarah Shun-lien Bynum’s gently, deeply affecting second novel.
Bynum’s debut, Madeleine Is Sleeping (2004), also traversed territories between childhood and adulthood, as a gorgeous fever dream, replete with circus lore, fairy-tale imagery, and eroticism. In this outing, Bynum embraces realism. A kind of coming-of-age story, the novel unfolds in an
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