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Ruth Tobias in the Weekly Dig


At the narrative center of Brookland, Emily Barton’s second novel, is a drawing””a sketch of the bridge that gin manufacturer Prue Winship dreams of erecting between Manhattan and Brooklyn at the dawn of the 19th century; however, it doesn’t so much depict a would-be architect’s invention as represent the fundamental need to invent in the first place. As it turns out, the willingness of its illustrator, Prue’s mute sister Pearl, to conform to Prue’s detailed specifications is finite; only too late does it become clear that Pearl has her own ideas about the way the world works, and an equally fierce capacity for expressing them. It’s not just that our creative urges define us; Brookland suggests that, even more than love, imagination makes or breaks us””or does both, even in the same moment… Barton’s gift with Brookland, as with [The] Testament [of Yves Gundron], is to immerse you gradually in a part-historical, part-mythical world.

– Ruth Tobias, the Weekly Dig on Brookland
on Brookland

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