In Laura van den Berg's gorgeous new book, The Isle of Youth, she explores the lives of women who are mired in secrecy and deception. Ranging from the inscrutability of a marriage to private eyes working a baffling case in South Florida to a teenager who assists her magician mother and steals from the audience, these stories are linked by mystery and by women who are at once vulnerable and dangerous, bighearted and ruthless - who will do what it takes to survive. The characters in these stories share a sense of bewilderment, the sensation of having become lost in the mysteries of the self and the world at large, which seems at once entirely singular and utterly familiar. Van den Berg writes with an elegant urgency and hyptic rhythm, revealing the inner lives of marginalized young women who are grappling with the choices they've made and are searching for the clues that will unlock their lives. Van den Berg is a modest but fearless writer-her stories feel both magical and mystical, earning her the title of sorceress from her fans. Be prepared to fall under her spell.
Laura van den Berg is the author of What the World Will Look Like When All the Water Leaves Us. A Florida native, she now lives in the Boston area and is at work on a novel.