Anna has grown up haunted by her younger sister's death. In the life she constructs as a barrier against the emotional wreckage of her family tragedy, Anna settles comfortably into a career as a teacher of deaf children. But a challenge arrives—in the form of a young girl. Adrea's disarming vulnerability and obvious need for love offer Anna the possibility of reconnecting with the world around her—if she has the courage to open her heart.
In this debut novel, Rachel Stolzman has crafted a moving and poetic witness to love's power to transcend grief, pain, and the constraints of human language. The Sign for Drowning is a poignant story of loss and the unexpected occasions of grace that enable us to heal from it and grow beyond it.
“By offering her heroine’s hesitant optimism through such disarmingly honest confessions, Stolzman exhibits an authentic emotional and narrative integrity, an impressive feat for a debut novelist. Stolzman brings this lyrical sensibility to an elegiac tale of a family’s heart-stopping tragedy and hard-won redemption, in which a tarnished silence can once again be made to shine through the resonate power of love.”—Foreword Magazine
“At a time when cool, ironic fiction is too much the rage, here is a novel written straight from the heart, a tender yet fearless portrait of a loving family crippled by grief. Rachel Stolzman reminds us what kind of stories matter, and move us, the most.”—Julia Glass, author of Three Junes and The Whole World Over
“Reminiscent of Ian McEwan’s The Child in Time and Frederick Reichen’s The Odd Sea, this is a moving and important novel. Rachel Stolzman's story about a woman’s attempts to find order in the broken world she inhabits deftly captures grief and the struggle to live within its lifelong specter.”—Bret Lott, author of Jewel and A Song I Knew by Heart
“Against the themes of loss and mourning in this radiant novel are balanced those of nurturing and hope.”—Roy Hoffman, author of Chicken Dreaming Corn and Almost Family
“Rendered in spare and original prose, The Sign for Drowning is a piercing and poignant tale of loss and love. Rachel Stolzman writes from the heart and speaks to the heart. This haunting first novel is the story of unspeakable horror and extraordinary beauty.”—Patty Dann, author of The Goldfish Went on Vacation
"It's a delicately balanced novel, spare but not taciturn, emotional but not overwrought, and finally hopeful but not unnaturally cheerful."—Margaret Quamme, The Columbus Dispatch