A Second Life

Stephen Wright

A Second Life
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A Second Life

Stephen Wright

Winner of the 2017 Seizure Viva La Novella Prize

The birch is a quiet tree. It listens.

In a tiny book-lined office backing onto a supermarket in a small town in northern New South Wales, a woman named Acker sits smoking a cigarette and listening to the music of Philip Glass. Others come to her with their stories of violence and pain and through her writing she attempts to salvage what they have lost. A Second Life immerses the reader in a world that is both familiar and forbidding. It unfolds with horror and beauty to reveal a complicated and unforgettable portrait of a woman who moves through this world carrying secret histories, different ways of seeing, and many stories.

With a narrative voice that is at once eerily beautiful and slightly wild, and a premise that is surreal and ambitious, A Second Life stood out to me immediately. It’s an exploration of the self and life and death, all of which comprise the psychological fabric of the main character, who occupies many selves and sometimes none at all.

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