- Sarah Crichton Books
May 14, 2019
In Dawson’s Fall, a novel based on the lives of Roxana Robinson’s great-grandparents, we see America at its most fragile, fraught, and malleable. Set in 1889, in Charleston, South Carolina, Robinson’s tale weaves her family’s journal entries and letters with a novelist’s narrative grace, and spans the life of her tragic hero, Frank Dawson, as he attempts to navigate the country’s new political, social, and moral landscape.
Dawson, a man of fierce opinions, came to this country as a young Englishman to fight for the Confederacy in a war he understood as a conflict over states’ rights. He later became the editor of the Charleston News and Courier, finding a platform of real influence in the editorial column and emerging as a voice of the New South. With his wife and two children, he tried to lead a life that adhered to his staunch principles: equal rights, rule of law, and nonviolence, unswayed by the caprices of popular opinion. But he couldn’t control the political whims of his readers. As he wrangled diligently in his columns with questions of citizenship, equality, justice, and slavery, his newspaper rapidly lost readership, and he was plagued by financial worries. Nor could Dawson control the whims of the heart: his Swiss governess became embroiled in a tense affair with a drunkard doctor, which threatened to stain his family’s reputation. In the end, Dawson—a man in many ways representative of the country at this time—was felled by the very violence he vehemently opposed.
Praise for Dawson’s Fall
‟How should a white writer write about whiteness? In no particular way. One sits with the truth, holds it, troubles it and writes as far into it as one’s pen will go. Robinson acknowledges that Frank Dawson ‘wrote to explain the world to itself’ and that, in the end, no explanation could suffice. Dawson’s Fall asks what truth means in an era when conviction matters more, and Roxana Robinson’s answer — that morality is friable — should make us sit up and tremble.”
- Sarah Crichton Books
June 4, 2013
Sparta included on Short List for the 2015 International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award.
Conrad Farrell has no family military heritage, but as a classics major at Williams College, he has encountered the powerful appeal of the Marine Corps ethic. “Semper Fidelis” comes straight from the ancient world, from Sparta, where every citizen doubled as a full-time soldier. When Conrad graduates, he joins the Marines to continue a long tradition of honor, courage, and commitment.
As Roxana Robinson’s new novel, Sparta, begins, Conrad has just returned home to Katonah, New York, after four years in Iraq, and he’s beginning to learn that something has changed in his landscape. Something has gone wrong, though things should be fine: he hasn’t been shot or wounded; he’s never had psychological troubles. But as he attempts to reconnect with his family and his girlfriend and to find his footing in the civilian world, he learns how hard it is to return to the people and places he used to love. His life becomes increasingly difficult to negotiate: he can’t imagine his future, can’t recover his past, and can’t bring himself to occupy his present. As weeks turn into months, Conrad feels himself trapped in a life that’s constrictive and incomprehensible, and he fears that his growing rage will have irreparable consequences.
Suspenseful, compassionate, and perceptive, Sparta captures the nuances of the unique estrangement that modern soldiers face as they attempt to rejoin the society they’ve fought for. Billy Collins writes that Roxana Robinson is “a master at…the work of excavating the truths about ourselves”; The Washington Post’s Jonathan Yardley calls her “one of our best writers.” InSparta, with the powerful insight and acuity that marked her earlier books (Cost, Sweetwater, and A Perfect Stranger, among others), Robinson delivers her best book yet.
- Winner of the James Webb Award
- Included on Short List for the 2015 International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award.
- Fiction Award, Maine Writers and Publishers Alliance, for Sparta
- A Best Books of the Year at the *Chicago Tribune*
- A Best Books of the Year at the BBC
- Publishers Weekly, The 10 Best Contemporary War Novels
Praise for Sparta
‟[Sparta] is not simply about war but about the horror and enforced isolation of trauma, the inevitable merging of the personal and the political, and the possibilities and trials found within the bonds of familial and romantic love.”
- Farrar, Straus and Giroux
June 10, 2008
- Fiction Award, Maine Writers and Publishers Alliance, for Cost
- Cost named One of the Best Five Fiction Books of the Year by The Washington Post
- Cost named New York Times Editors’ Choice
- Cost on the best books of the year lists at The Wall Street Journal, The Seattle Times, and the Chicago Tribune
- Cost named spring 2008 Recommended Reads choice of the National Book Critics Circle
Praise for Cost
‟Cost is unusual for being as plot-driven as it is character-driven, and the assured manner in which Robinson builds toward the inevitable train wreck is matched by her acuity in bringing us inside the characters’ minds…”
- Random House
March 14, 2006
In Roxana Robinson’s lucid and elegant prose, her characters’ inner worlds open up to us, revealing private emotional cores that are familiar in their needs, their secrets, and their longings. These people tell us the truth–not only about themselves, their relationships, and their lives, but about ourselves as well. A Perfect Stranger powerfully and affectingly examines the complex, intricate network of experiences that binds us to one another. These stories are tender, raw, lovely, fine–and they reaffirm Roxana Robinson’s place at the forefront of modern literature.
Praise for A Perfect Stranger and Other Stories
‟A Perfect Stranger is a strong collection from a writer who knows that within each adult forever resides that bewildered child, still seeking to understand what the grown-ups are talking about, still making his or her way in an eternally foreign land.”
- Random House
May 13, 2003
Isabel Green’s marriage to Paul Simmons, after the death of her first husband, marks her reconnection to life — a venture she’s determined will succeed. But this proves to be harder than she’d anticipated, and the challenges of starting afresh seem more complicated in adulthood. Staying at the Simmons lodge for their annual summer visit, Isabel finds herself entering into a set of familial complexities. She struggles to understand her new husband, his elderly, difficult parents and his brother, whose relationship with Paul seems oddly fraught. Furthermore, her second marriage begins to cast into sharp relief the troubling echoes of her first. Isabel’s professional life plays a part as well: a passionate environmental advocate, she is aware of the tensions within the mountain landscape itself during a summer of spectacular beauty and ominous drought.
- Named Barnes and Noble Best Books of 2003
- Named a New York Times Notable Book of the Year
- Named a Book Sense choice
- Named a Literary Guild Featured Alternate Selection
- Named Chicago Tribune Best Books of 2003
Praise for Sweetwater
‟Abundant in poetic language and incisive imagery, Robinson unfolds what seems, at first, to be a subdued story about relationships and love but which slowly reveals ever-dilating depth and breadth.”
September 16, 1999
When Peter and Emma, both refugees from failed first marriages, decide to create a new life together, they do so with an optimistic commitment to creating a union—and forging a new family from two existing ones — bonded by love and trust. Their young daughters, however, are not partners in this new venture, but helpless participants. Like all children of divorce, the girls feel sorrow, loss, and a longing for their earlier lives. As the tensions and complexities grow steadily more powerful, This Is My Daughter moves inexorably to a stunning and emotional climax. Roxana Robinson, who has established a reputation as a perceptive chronicler of WASP family life, delivers a beautifully moving and compassionate account of a marriage in peril, proving once more that class and privilege provide no protection from the passion of opposing desires.
- Washington Irving Award, Westchester Library Association
- Named a Notable Book of the Year by The New York Times
Praise for This Is My Daughter
‟In This Is My Daughter, Robinson has created a skillful and sensitive portrayal of divorce and its post-nuclear-family fallout.”
- Random House
March 12, 1996
In this second collection of her short fiction, the author returns to the world she knows so well, and shows us men and women whose lives are in various stages of disarray or disrepair. Divorce and remarriage have altered their landscapes, and they struggle to achieve order with a new set of rules. Stories like “The Nightmare” and “Family Restaurant” explore the minefields of stepparenting and portray the confused struggles—sometimes silent, sometimes not—of the ultimate victims of divorce, the children.
Several of the stories in this collection have appeared in The Atlantic and Harper’s, and one, “Mr. Sumarsono,” was included in The Best American Short Stories 1994.
- Named one of the Notable Books of the Year by the American Library Association
Praise for Asking for Love
‟Asking for Love delighted me no end. I think ‘King of the Sky’ is one of the most masterful, achieved stories I’ve read in a long time.”
- Harper Perennial
June 1, 1992
Taking readers into the summer homes, town houses, and boarding schools of those for whom power and wealth come as a birthright, she uncovers an astonishing emotional territory.
Here, in the first collection of her short fiction, Robinson probes the pain and joy of raising children, the allure of illicit love, the ordeal of divorce, as well as more subtle events—the small but often exquisitely painful betrayals that litter the course of a life.
But in her world, grace too can be near at hand, and Robinson balances these harrowing portraits with stories that uncover the possibility of reunion and renewal—and moments of transcendent loveliness that promise, and deliver, “merely great delight.”
- Named Notable Book of the Year by The New York Times
Praise for A Glimpse of Scarlet
‟Roxana Robinson’s first collection of stories is at once poignant and brutal, a book of New York stories filled with the bitter joys and tender sorrows of marriage and parenthood.”
- University Press of New England
October 1, 1989
Georgia O’Keeffe is arguably the 20th century’s leading woman artist. Coming of age along with American modernism, her life was rich in intense relationships—with family, friends, and especially noted photographer Alfred Stieglitz. Her struggle between the rigorous demands of love and work resulted in extraordinary accomplishments. Her often-eroticized flowers, bones, stones, skulls, and pelvises became extremely well known to a broad American public. The New York Times Book Review named this richly detailed and moving biography a Notable Book of the Year.
- Nominated for the Charles Eldredge Award for Scholarship, Smithsonian Institution
- Named one of the Recommended Books of the Year by The New York Times
Praise for Georgia O’Keeffe: A Life
‟This is without question the best book ever written on O’Keeffe and an invaluable reattribution not only for scholars but for the general public. It is accurate, insightful, and beautifully written.”
- University Press of New England
June 25, 1987
Summer Light is the story of a young woman hovering between careers, between marriages, between lives—and of the summer that throws her off balance and onto her feet. Laura is in her middle 30s, separated but not yet divorced from her philandering husband. She is spending the summer on the Maine coast with Ward, the man she lives with; Sam, her 3-year-old son; her sister, Sarah; Sarah’s husband, Richie; and their two adolescent daughters. It was supposed to be a tranquil family summer, full of berry picking, sailing, days spent in the sun and evenings before the fire—but it doesn’t turn out quite that way.
- Chosen for inclusion in the Pennsylvania Writers Collection 1988
- Washington Irving Book Award, Westchester Library Association
Praise for Summer Light
‟Dramatic, fast-paced, boasting both engaging characters and an optimistic resolution of its conflict, this well-written novel will make good summer reading.”
- Pegasus Books
January 30, 2017
These masterfully crafted stories from writers who have served reflect the entire breadth of human emotion―loss, anger, joy, love, fear, and courage―and the evolving nature of what has become America’s “Forever War.”
From debut writers to experienced contributors whose work has been featured in the New York Times, the Atlantic, and the New Yorker, this exceptional collection promises to be the definitive fictional look at the aftereffects of the Iraq and Afghan Wars, and will resonate with the reader long after the final page.
- New York Review Books
October 18, 2016
Loving is set in the vast hereditary house of the Tennants, an aristocratic Anglo-Irish family, but the story mainly involves their servants. The war has led to a scarcity of experienced staff, and when Eldon the butler dies, Raunce the head footman is assigned his job. The other servants are taken aback by this irregular promotion, but lovely young Edith, a recent hire, is quite attracted to the older Raunce and a flirtation begins. And it is Edith who discovers Mrs. Tennant’s daughter-in-law, whose husband is fighting at the front, in bed with a neighbor one morning, scandalizing the whole household.
When the Tennants depart for England, Raunce is left in charge of the house and struggles to control its disputatious inhabitants as well as to secure the love of Edith, especially after a precious family jewel disappears. In Loving, Henry Green explores the deeply precarious nature of ordinary life against the background of the larger world at war.
Praise for Loving
‟This new edition…is cause for celebration…[Green] wriggles free of categories, the true strangeness of his prose not always evident until we slow down to see it has been hiding in plain sight.”