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Halfway House

by Katharine Noel

Book Club Recommendations Family Drama Modern and Contemporary Fiction

LoveReading View on Halfway House

Angie, seventeen, is a star pupil and swimmer with a seemingly assured future – when she has a psychotic breakdown. This haunting and affecting debut novel explores not just Angie’s inner turmoil but the collateral damage it inflicts on her family as they evolve and adapt to the crisis in their midst. Definitely a book worth reading and talking about.

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Halfway House Synopsis

One day, Angie Voorster - diligent student, all-star swimmer, and Ivy League-bound high school senior - dives to the bottom of a pool and stays there. In that moment, everything the Voorster family believes they know about one another changes. Katharine Noel’s extraordinary debut illuminates the fault lines in one family’s relationships, as well as the complex emotional ties that bind them together. Halfway House  is the story of Angie’s psychotic break and her family’s subsequent turmoil. Angie is a charismatic young woman - brilliant, witty, and passionate - until she swings to manic highs or dangerous lows. Each of her family members responds differently to the ongoing crisis: Her father Pieter, a Dutch-born professional cellist, retreats further into his music; her mother begins a destabilizing affair with a younger man; her younger brother, Luke, first distances himself as much as possible from his sister, then later drops out of college to be closer to her. And Luke’s college girlfriend Wendy, who comes from a farming town in Iowa, provides an outsider’s perspective on the family’s teeter toward collapse. The Voorsters manage for a time to maintain a semblance of the normalcy they had 'before', when they were the ideal New England family; it is not until Angie is finally able to fend for herself that the family is able to truly fall apart and then regather itself in a new, fundamentally changed way.

Halfway House Press Reviews

‘In Katharine Noel’s stunning debut novel, family life is revealed - laid open - in all its love and warmth and, yes, its darkness, too. Mother and daughter, husband and wife, sister and brother, father and son: each character lives on the page, and together they teach us the best lessons of fiction: how we live, and how we live through crisis. I was enthralled.’ Ann Packer, author of The Dive from Clausen’s Pier

'A beautiful debut novel' Daily Mail

'a sure-footed debut' The New York Times

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All versions of this book

ISBN: 9780749937737
Publication date: 03/05/2007
Publisher: Judy Piatkus Publishers Ltd
Format: Paperback

Book Information

ISBN: 9780749937737
Publication date: 3rd May 2007
Author: Katharine Noel
Publisher: Judy Piatkus Publishers Ltd
Format: Paperback
Genres: Book Club Recommendations, Family Drama, Modern and Contemporary Fiction,
Categories:

About Katharine Noel

Katharine Noel is a Jones Lecturer at Stanford University, where she formerly held a Stegner Fellowship.  Her writing has won grants from the Henfield-Transatlantic, Barbara Deming, and Rona Jaffe foundations, and was included in Best New American Voices 2003.  She currently lives in San Francisco, where she is at work on her second novel.

More About Katharine Noel

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