L'Air du Temps (1985)
by Diane Josefowicz
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Pub Date 12 Mar 2024 | Archive Date 26 Dec 2023
A Note From the Publisher
"This novella is so finely etched, you can smell the over-the-counter hair dye, feel the backseat velour, taste the Diet Coke. The crime that sets Zinnia’s life moving in a new direction also sharpens her vision, and what a thrill it is to be along for the ride."
—Clare Beams, author of The Illness Lesson
"It’s 1985, the MTV flag is on the moon, and Lincoln Continentals are triplicating in the New England suburb of Maple Bay, where everyone who’s not in jail or divorce court is going off the deep end. A vintage murder-mystery that's evergreen as a chemically-treated lawn, this smart, tight novella is the arresting and singular cry of thirteen-year-old Zinnia Zompa, who's troubling the shadows, swerving toward an awakening that might or might not be her ticket out of town."
—Kirstin Allio, author of Buddhism for Western Children
"L’Air du Temps (1985) is a gorgeously written exploration of memory and childhood—of the things we choose not to know, and how they live in us against our will. Josefowicz takes us on an intoxicating deep dive into the psyche of America just before now, when consumerism was in full swing and mystery seemed to have been killed off forever. In Josefowicz's fictional Maple Bay, mystery is far from dead—it’s alive, kicking, and doing big mischief. This supremely supple, surprising, and sneaky-clever book made me start reading again the moment I finished."
—Robin McLean, author of Pity the Beast
"L'Air du Temps is a marvel, a genre-defying hybrid, a comic portrait of a 1980s New England family that’s also a murder mystery. Zinnia Zompa is a fabulously astute witness to the undercurrents of her parents' unraveling marriage, all the while navigating her own shifting desires. In this gorgeous story, Josefowicz combines subtle social commentary with a radical new twist on the coming-of-age tale."
—Susan Daitch, author of Siege of Comedians
"Josefowicz brilliantly spins a web of desire and deception in this sly coming-of-age story wrapped around a murder mystery. At once haunting and tender, L’Air Du Temps (1985) captures the essence of an era."
—Dawn Raffel, author of Boundless as the Sky
"Atmospheric and affecting, darkly funny and nostalgic, L'Air du Temps (1985) opens up the technicolor world of Zinnia Zompa, aged thirteen. Josefowicz has mastered the nuances of familial experience: No one is who they seem, and yet, they are exactly as they seem. The brilliance of Josefowicz’s storytelling is in what she withholds, deftly showing through powerful omission all that Zinnia cannot. Visceral, restrained, intentional, and complex, L’Air du Temps is a transporting portrait of growing up in a family with secrets."
—Kalani Pickhart, author of I Will Die in a Foreign Land
"This sly novella will take you on an unforgettable ride. At first, all you'll feel is the wind blowing in through the moonroof, but beware: there’s something hiding in the trunk. Josefowicz deftly steers us through beautiful, manicured suburbia, revealing the brutality just beneath the surface. A remarkable read."
—Alena Graedon, author of The Word Exchange
"When the murder of a neighbor jolts Zinnia Zompa’s world—1980s suburban New England, complete with macrame plant slings, Sweet Valley High books, and Lincoln Continentals—the young teen is thrust toward a dawning awareness of the high, and often harrowing, cost of the American Dream. Propulsive and transporting, Diane Josefowicz’s L’Air du Temps (1985) is filled with the shadows we pretend not to see."
—Jen Fawkes, author Tales the Devil Told Me
"At once nostalgic, mysterious, heart-rending, and sweet, this book is as fine and lovely as a butterfly’s wing but somehow carries the weight of an entire family. Point of fact: Josefowicz has created a miracle." —C.B. Bernard, author of Small Animals Caught In Traps and Ordinary Bear