A young woman moves from a small island off the coast of Maine to a larger island—Manhattan—where she learns both to adjust to a new life and to negotiate the shoals of her past.
At the age of three, Miranda Donnal moves to Crab Island with her brilliant but preoccupied father. Shortly after, her mother disappears in the enveloping fog, a shadow among shadows. For the next 15 years, Miranda’s father Peter works on a translation of Ovid’s Metamorphoses, a book of changes that provides ironic counterpoint to the monotony of his own life. He lives in both the fog of coastal Maine and a fog of his own devising, for his drinking and the sea turtle pace of his translation distance him from his daughter, whose life is vividly connected to the gods, goddesses and nymphs of Ovid. When Miranda graduates from high school, her father arranges for her to work at the Institute of Classical Studies, a private learning center he had helped found in New York City before Miranda was born. In the weeks Miranda spends in the city, she has a brief fling with Nate, a Latin teacher at the Institute, and a deeper relationship with Ana, who runs a coffee concession. Along the way, Miranda begins to piece together the melancholic story of her father’s past and ultimately realizes the depth of her love for this difficult and uncommunicative man. In her final epiphany, she tells Ana how “for a while I had lived in a world in which trees spoke and gods flew, and how I thought that if I waited long enough things would get marvelous like they did in the stories Ovid told, and become something else.” In this novel, we watch Miranda “become something else” as she begins to move out of her loneliness and toward connection both with Ana and with her father.
A lyrical debut novel of isolation and communion.