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Catherine Strayed is living a quiet, unremarkable life in a secluded college town following the mysterious death of her husband, a promising writer whose death may have been an accident, a suicide, or perhaps even a murder. When her former mentor (and onetime lover)—a powerful critic who singlehandedly destroyed her late husband’s chance for success—takes a teaching job at the college, Catherine’s world threatens to collapse. For with him has come his latest protégé, an exotic young woman named Antonia Lively. Antonia’s debut novel has become a literary sensation—but it is, in fact, an almost factual retelling of a terrible crime that she relates without any concern for the impact its publication will have on the lives of those involved.
As Antonia insinuates herself into Catherine’s life, mysterious and frightening things start to happen, because unbeknownst to Catherine, the younger woman intends to plunder her own dark, regrettable past—and the unsolved death of her husband—for her next literary triumph.
Provocative and cunning, Antonia Lively Breaks the Silence asserts that fiction is never truly fictional and asks, What does stealing another’s life do to your soul? Levinson spins a tale of surprises, peeling back one revelation only to find another in this tightly wrought, wickedly cynical look at the worlds of academia, publishing, and celebrity.
David Samuel Levinson is the author of a story collection, Most of Us Are Here Against Our Will. His stories have appeared as well in Prairie Schooner, West Branch, and the Brooklyn Review, among others. He lives in New York City. This is his first novel.
"A sweet, smart, tasty book, it hooked me from the start and swiftly pulled me to shore." —Gary Shteyngart, author of Super Sad True Love Story
"Antonia Lively Breaks the Silence has the taut pacing and intellectual daring of Donna Tartt's The Secret History and the gothic, dark, page-turning energy of Daphne du Maurier's Rebecca." —Kate Christensen, author of The Astral
"Precise in its plot, immaculate in its writing, Antonia Lively Breaks the Silence is a thriller in every sense of the word. Thrilling to read, with enough terrifying plot twists to keep you up far into the night, and thrilling in the precision and creative expansiveness of the storytelling itself. You are going to love this novel." —Robert Goolrick, author of Heading Out to Wonderful