Here in Avalon
by Tara Isabella Burton
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Pub Date 02 Jan 2024 | Archive Date 31 Mar 2024
Rose has come a long way. Raised—and often neglected—by a wayward mother in New York City’s chaotic bohemia, Rose has finally built the life she’s always wanted: a good job at a self-help startup, a clean apartment, an engagement to a stable if self-satisfied tech CEO who shares her faith in human potential, hard work, and the sacrifice of childish dreams.
Rose’s sister Cecilia, on the other hand, never grew up. Irresponsible and impetuous, prone to jetting off to a European monastery one month and a falcon rescue the next, Cecilia has spent her life in pursuit of fairy-tale narratives of transcendence and true love—grand ideas Rose knows never work out in the real world. When Cecilia declares she’s come home to New York for good, following the ending of a whirlwind marriage, Rose hopes Cecilia might finally be ready to face adulthood: compromises and all.
But then Cecilia gets involved with the Avalon: a cultish-sounding cabaret troupe—one that appears only at night, on a mysterious red boat that travels New York’s waterways—and soon vanishes: one of a growing number of suspicious disappearances among the city’s lost and loneliest souls. The only way Rose can find Cecilia is by tracking down the Avalon herself.
But as Rose gets closer to solving the mystery of what happened to her sister, the Avalon works its magic on her, too. And the deeper she goes into the Avalon’s underworld, she more she begins to question everything she knows about her own life, and whether she’s willing to leave the real world behind.
“HERE IN AVALON is a salty, whimsical-in-the-best-way, windy, enchanting, operatic story. There is so much to love in here, most of all, the refreshing cast of unforgettable characters, misfits and searchers who don’t always know what they want, let alone how to get it. A truly exciting, stand-out, star of a book.” —CAROLINE KEPNES, author of New York Times bestseller You
“There is absolutely nothing I didn’t love about this remarkable, exceptionally engaging and intelligent, luminous and transfixing urban fairytale for grownups. It is one of those rare books that, seemingly without any deliberate effort, lift you up above the familiar, ordinary grayness of the daily grind and, however fleetingly or enduringly, remind you to feel grateful for being alive. Indeed, it is true: another life is possible, happiness awaits patiently for you to believe in its promise—and yes, everything connects.” —MIKHAIL IOSSEL, author of Love Like Water, Love Like Fire
“An utterly enchanting read that springs from the shadowy depths and liminal spaces of New York City, HERE IN AVALON dared us to shatter the binding social contracts we’ve signed in search of something greater, and is a dazzling testament to the realest magic in the world: family.”—LING LING HUANG, author of Natural Beauty
“A New York City fairy tale with the dark intrigue of a 1920s noir, HERE IN AVALON is a hypnotic story of sisterhood, tragedy, and yearning. For love, for art, for beauty— and for the reckless courage to chase them, no matter the cost.” —KAT ROSENFIELD, author of You Must Remember This
“HERE IN AVALON is a fascinating trip to a demimonde of Burton's prodigious imagination. In its mysterious bacchanal, we find a unique story about the seductions of art and beauty, and the temptation to leave the stultifying mainstream behind.” —LYDIA KIESLING, author of The Golden State and Mobility