Nine Island

http://www.janealisonauthor.com/nine-island/Nine Island is a crackling incantation, brittle and brilliant and hot and sad and full of sideways humor that devastates and illuminates all at once.” —Lauren Groff, author of Fates and Furies

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Nine Island is an intimate nonfiction novel, told by J, a woman who lives in a glass tower on one of Miami Beach’s lush Venetian Islands. After decades of disaster with men, she is trying to decide whether to withdraw forever from romantic love. Having just returned to Miami from a monthlong reunion with an old flame, “Sir Gold,” and a visit to her fragile mother, J begins translating Ovid’s magical stories about the transformations caused by Eros. “A woman who wants, a man who wants nothing. These two have stalked the world for thousands of years,” she thinks.

When not ruminating over her sexual past and current fantasies, in the company of only her aging cat, J observes the comic, sometimes steamy goings-on among her faded-glamour condo neighbors. One of them, a caring nurse, befriends her, eventually offering the opinion that “if you retire from love… then you retire from life.”

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Reviews

“Wonderful…. With echoes of Molly Bloom’s soliloquy and Iris Murdoch’s The Sea, the Sea, Alison has forged a haunting and emotionally precise portrait, a beautiful reminder that solitude does not equal loneliness.” Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“This immersive, cerebral novel centers on J, a woman teetering on the balance between the concrete, sometimes grim responsibilities of her daily life and an equally urgent personal dilemma: should she ‘retire’ from love and romance?…. Evocative, sad, at times funny, and never completely without hope, Nine Island studies what it means to be alone later in life.” Kirkus Reviews

Nine Island is a crackling incantation, brittle and brilliant and hot and sad and full of sideways humor that devastates and illuminates all at once.” —Lauren Groff, author of Fates and Furies

Nine Island is a nerve-jangling book full of the giddy wit of the emotionally starving, the unfulfillable desire of being in love with being in love, and the weirdly sexy conversation of souls in free fall.” —David Shields, author of Reality Hunger and How Literature Saved My Life

“This deceptively slim narrative, as witty and mercurial as any tale from Ovid, circles deftly around love and desire, pain and death, joy and solitude and the relentless nature of change. I fell into it as into water, transformed by the magic of Alison’s prose.” —Andrea Barrett, author of The Air We Breathe and Archangel