Wait: A Novel (Hardcover)

Wait: A Novel By Gabriella Burnham Cover Image
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A young woman reunites with her teenage sister in their childhood home on Nantucket Island after their mother disappears in this alluring coming-of-age novel from the acclaimed author of It Is Wood, It Is Stone.

“A novel to remember.”—Sarah Thankam Mathews, author of All This Could Be Different

Elise is out dancing the night before her college graduation when her younger sister, Sophie, calls to tell her that their mom is nowhere to be found. Elise leaves on the next flight back to her childhood home, Nantucket Island, for the first time in nearly four years.

The sisters soon learn that their mother was stopped by police on her way home from work and deported to São Paulo, Brazil. Intent on bringing her mother back, Elise stays and secures the same job she had in high school: monitoring endangered birds. Meanwhile, her best friend from college, Sheba—a gregarious socialite and heir to a famed children’s toy company—reveals that she has inherited her grandfather’s summer mansion on Nantucket. Elise’s worlds collide as she confronts the emotional and material conditions that have fractured her family, as well as the life in Brazil that her mother has had to leave behind.

Told with penetrating insight, humor, and unexpected tenderness, Wait is a story about a family swimming against the social currents that erode bonds: housing precarity, immigration systems, and inherited wealth. But it is also a story about love, wit, and sisterhood, and how two sisters cling to each other in the midst of cataclysmic change, all the while dreaming about a better future.

About the Author

Gabriella Burnham’s debut novel, It Is Wood, It Is Stone, was named a best book of the year by Harper’s Bazaar, Marie Claire, Publishers Weekly, and Good Housekeeping. She holds an MFA in creative writing from St. Joseph’s College and has been awarded fellowships to Yaddo and MacDowell, where she was named a Harris Center Fellow. Her nonfiction writing has appeared in Harper’s Bazaar. Burnham and her partner live in Brooklyn, New York, with their two rescue cats, Galleta and Franz.

Praise For…

Wait is beautiful, heartfelt, and transcendent—a carefully crafted portrayal of motherhood, sisterhood, and friendship put to the ultimate test. I found myself caring deeply about these characters and wanting to know desperately what was going to happen to them next. Wait is also the best account of year-round Nantucket Island that I’ve ever read.”—Nathaniel Philbrick, National Book Award–winning author of In the Heart of the Sea, Mayflower, and Travels with George

Wait is a limpid and lovely, powerful and affecting novel of family ties, sisterhood’s tender mercies, and the material conditions that shape our lives. Gabriella Burnham has given us a novel to remember, one that takes us to Nantucket and beyond—and we should gladly go.”—Sarah Thankam Mathews, National Book Award–nominated author of All This Could Be Different 

“Wise and richly layered, Wait is on one level a tender coming-of-age story set on the beautiful beaches of Nantucket, and on another a powerful inquiry into who gets to lay claim to American soil and call it home. Burnham’s nuanced exploration of friendship and sisterhood, inherited wealth and housing insecurity, birthright and disenfranchisement will stay with me. I could not put this book down and continued to think about it long after I emerged from its propulsive pages.”—Qian Julie Wang, author of Beautiful Country

“Imbued with hope and loss, Wait is a stunning examination of homecoming and familial devotion. Burnham’s prose is sensuous and exacting. She writes about sisterhood, daughterhood, and friendship with deep wisdom and exquisite precision.”—Kayla Maiuri, author of Mother in the Dark

“Gabriella Burnham’s sophomore novel, Wait, simultaneously illuminates the precariousness of young womanhood and existing as an immigrant in the United States, while showing the resourcefulness and strength needed to survive. Burnham examines how this strength is derived, not from the individual alone but from their ties to their community: their sisters, mothers, friends, and neighbors. As I read this novel, I could almost feel the Nantucket sea breeze whipping against my face and, at other times, caressing me.”—Daphne Palasi Andreades, author of Brown Girls

Product Details
ISBN: 9780593596500
ISBN-10: 0593596501
Publisher: One World
Publication Date: May 21st, 2024
Pages: 272
Language: English