He came to me first in a dream, as a crippled dog angling down a country lane, puzzled by his sudden age, his bum paw, the dry stick clamped between his teeth. I’d been expecting this dream for a very long time, and I woke up moving. . . .
Rita Rosario has a gift, a way with people. She listens to them and really sees them for who they are–warts and all. And sometimes, she even knows how to guide them toward a new beginning. Women, even men, come to Rita’s beauty shop for perms, town gossip, and the makeovers of their very lives.
John Reed first appears to Rita in one of her dreams. When they meet at a town gathering a few days later, she immediately offers him a haircut, and her heart. As they share their stories, Rita senses she can help John fill a void by reconnecting him to his only family–a young niece he nearly lost in a heartbreaking tragedy. While inspiring John on a journey out of loneliness and into reconciliation, Rita begins to come to terms with events in her past . . . and discovers things about herself she never realized, including her own intimate role in John’s unfolding story.
Monica Wood is the author of an earlier novel, Secret Language, and a guide for fiction writers, Description. Her short stories, some of which have been nominated for the National Magazine Award and read on public radio, have appeared in such publications as Glimmer Train, Redbook, Manoa, Yankee, Best American Mystery Stories 1997, Twenty Timeless Stories, and Sudden Fiction International. She won a 1999 Pushcart Prize. A native of Mexico, Maine, she currently lives in Portland with her husband. She can be reached at her Web site, www.monicawood.com.
"Luminous . . . Monica Wood has brilliantly captured the human need to love, the heart’s desire to nurture, the soul’s urge to sacrifice."
–ANDRE DUBUS III
Author of House of Sand and Fog
"A thoroughly captivating book: warm and wise and beautifully written."
Author of Straight Man
"[AN] ACCOMPLISHED NEW NOVEL . . . Wood’s command of voice holds a reader all the way through to the last page, where . . . she holds up a mirror and encourages us to recognize ourselves."
–San Francisco Chronicle
"ONE OF THE BEST NOVELS I’VE READ IN THE PAST YEAR . . . A slender book that unfolds as gracefully as the petals of a rose . . . A small gem to be read, reread, and, yes, treasured."
–The Roanoke Times