The Scent of Pine: A Novel.pdf
“A compelling tale of cultural displacement and yearning” (The Boston Globe), from award-winning author Lara Vapnyar: a “sly and seductive” (The New York Times Book Review) new novel about sexual awakening and the relentless search for love.
Though only thirty-eight, Lena finds herself in the grips of a midlife crisis. She feels lost in her adoptive country, her career is at a dead end, and her marriage has spiraled into apathy and distrust—it seems impossible she will ever find happiness again. But then she strikes up a precarious friendship with Ben, a failed artist turned reluctant academic, who is just as lost as she is.
They soon surprise themselves by embarking on an impulsive weekend adventure, uncharacteristically leaving their responsibilities behind. On the way to Ben’s remote cabin in Maine, Lena begins to talk, for the first time in her life, about the tumultuous summer she spent as a counselor in a Soviet children’s camp twenty years earlier, when she was just discovering romance and her own sexuality. As Lena opens up to Ben about secrets she has long kept hidden, they begin to discover together not only the striking truths buried in her puzzling past, but also more immediate, passionate ones about the urgency of this short, stolen time they have together.
“Enchanting…vivid and rich” (The New York Times), filled with Lara Vapnyar’s characteristic empathy, deadpan humor, and striking honesty, The Scent of Pine weaves themes of ambition, loneliness, longing, and the fickle nature of desire into a “book of elegant writing and propulsive storytelling” (Chicago Tribune).
“Vapnyar gives us a modern Scheherazade, weaving literary allusions, sexual repression and awakening. . . into a darkly funny, lonely love story evoked by the landscapes of Russia and Maine. . . Readers of literary fiction will want to try this surprisingly quick read.” (Booklist)
"Sharply observed, darkly humorous, and sexy, Vapnyar weaves her tale of mid-life crisis and coming-of-age like a modern-day, Russian Scheherazade." (Tatjana Soli New York Times bestselling author of The Lotus Eaters)
"Lara Vapnyar has always written vividly and with a droll sense of humor about personal liberty. In The Scent of Pine Vapnyar takes that singular voice to a new level as she examines a singular character's release from her past and her consequential sexual liberation. The Scent of Pine is an important novel that questions-and miraculously answers--what it really means to be free." (Jennifer Gilmore author of The Mothers and Something Red)
Lara Vapnyar moved from Moscow to Brooklyn in 1994. Knowing very little English, she quickly picked up the language and soon began writing in it. She is the author of two story collections, There are Jews in My House and Broccoli and Other Tales of Food and Love, and a novel, Memoirs of a Muse. She lives in New York City with her family.