Monday, October 15, 2012

Books Within a Book

Miss Me When I'm Gone by Emily Arsenault (William Morrow trade paperback, 31 July 2012).

Emily Arsenault's third novel, like the first two*, blew me away.

In this story, Gretchen Waters, the modestly successful author of a series of essays called Tammyland, written during a trip to Nashville after her divorce, dies after falling down a slippery staircase.  Her dear friend Jamie Madden is asked by Gretchen's family to complete the follow-up book which was nearly finished.

As Jamie soon discovers, this involves going through boxes and boxes of paper and notebooks as well as computer files on top of her job as night-shift copy-editor at a newspaper.  She learns that Gretchen was nowhere near finishing the book, but in fact was writing on a different topic altogether:  focusing on the violent death of her mother when Gretchen was about seven. 

Intrigued, Jamie, who is heavily pregnant,  starts retracing the trail of Gretchen's research, contacting and visiting all the people her friend had, not really knowing why she's doing it.

What's wonderful is that Arsenault includes chapters excerpted from Tammyland, as well as Gretchen's notes for the new book.  In essence, she has created three (well, almost) books in one.  Any one of these stories would be fascinating on its own, but by intertwining them, Arsenault has taken what could have been a tangled mess, and turned it into awesome piece of work!

FTC Full Disclosure: Many thanks to the publisher, who sent me an advance copy of the book for review purposes.

*The Broken Teaglass (Delacorte, 2009) and In Search of the Rose Notes (Morrow, 2011)


  1. Another wonderful review, Marlyn. Thank you for always bringing new books to our attention!

  2. I love layered books and stories with journalists, so this one sounds terrific. Thanks for a great review.

  3. Thank you! If you haven't read anything by Emily Aresenault, I highly recommend it!

  4. Sounds fascinating, Marlyn! Another talented author to check out! Thanks for sharing!


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.