Lucy Hull, a young children’s librarian in Hannibal, Missouri, finds herself both kidnapper and kidnapped when her favourite patron, ten-year-old Ian Drake, runs away from home. The precocious Ian is addicted to reading, but needs Lucy’s help to smuggle books past his overbearing mother, who has enrolled Ian in weekly anti-gay classes. When Lucy finds Ian camped out in the library after hours with a backpack of provisions and an escape plan, she allows herself to be hijacked by him and the pair embark on a spontaneous road trip. But is it just Ian who is running away? And should Lucy really be trying to save a boy from his own parents?
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The heightening tension throughout their haphazard road trip from Missouri to Vermont is exhilarating... This astonishingly assured novel knows precisely where it's heading ... the reader is breathless with hope that Lucy and Ian will find a happy ending. - Daily Mail
A tale of the inspirational power of children's books...The Borrower is a tremendously entertaining read. - Financial Times
The Borrower's out and out charm is heightened by its furious, righteous heart and conviction that books offer salvation and hope when life is messy and near-unbearable - Marie Claire
Funny, charming debut...it's a lovely, inventive novel, smart but not annoyingly wise-cracking, about the power of books and stories to sustain people when life becomes impossible... warmly demonstrates that love can come in different and unexpected guises. - Metro
The sheer zest and care with which this book is written, as well as the emphasis on children's literature, set it apart... Makkai is an engaging writer. - Guardian
Rarely is a first novel as smart and engaging and learned and funny and moving as The Borrower. -
Makkai takes several risks in her sharp, often witty text, replete with echoes of children's classics from Goodnight Moon to The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, as well as more ominous references to Lolita...the moving final chapters affirm the power of books to change people's lives even as they acknowledge the unbreakable bonds of home and family. Smart, literate and refreshingly unsentimental. - Kirkus
Rebecca Makkai takes all the best features of the children's books her characters love and sweeps them straight into her first novel: their warmth, their vibrancy, their joy at setting their inventions in motion and following them wherever they might lead. She is a generous, original, and arresting writer, and any story she wants to tell, I want to listen. -
She's a great writer...a wonderfully entertaining story packed with moral conundrums and beautiful writing - The Bookseller
Ian is a little star. His many sayings and observations that he'll burst out with are endearing - and often funny. It's clear that Lucy is smitten by her favourite 'borrower.' - The Bookbag
This story - often fun, sometimes sad, always bookish - deals with big issues...Rebecca Makkai's literary debut will appeal to young adults and readers of adult literary fiction - We Love This Book
In Makkai's picaresque first novel, Lucy, a 26-year-old children's librarian, 'borrows' her favorite patron, bright, book-loving 10-year-old Ian, after his fundamentalist parents enroll him in a program meant to 'cure' his nascent homosexuality. - Booklist
About the Author
Rebecca Makkai is a Chicago-based writer whose first novel, The Borrower (Viking, June 2011), is a Booklist Top Ten Debut, an Indie Next pick, an O Magazine selection, and one of Chicago Magazine's choices for best fiction of 2011. Her short fiction has been chosen for The Best American Short Stories for four consecutive years (2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011), and appears regularly in journals like Tin House, Ploughshares, New England Review and Shenandoah.
Makkai is an elementary school teacher, she lives north of Chicago with her husband and daughter. For more information visit Rebecca's website: www.rebeccamakkai.com