Nona Caspers discusses her new novel, The Fifth Woman.
Praise for The Fifth Woman
“The Fifth Woman is stealthily astonishing from its first line to its last. Over the course of twenty-three connected short fictions, the writer marks out a trail of mourning that is both quite straightforward and miraculously layered, strange, and emotionally multifaceted. There is not a single sentence in these stories that is not as clear as water…. It is a wonderful book.”—Stacey D’Erasmo
"Grief alters the world in ways that are both expected and less so. The Fifth Woman is a story of love, loss, and carrying on, in language that is always precise and often transporting. There is a sadness here but also acute observation and magical happenings. Nona Caspers is a true original."—Jean L. Thompson
About The Fifth Woman
At the center of this book is the death of the narrator’s partner in a bicycling accident. Each short chapter serves as a brief vignette of, or occasionally a magical-realist metaphor for, the grieving process. A shadow of a dog appears in her apartment with no apparent source; a crack opens in the ceiling and splits her building down the middle. One day she notices in the alley below her window four women chatting together and a fifth, with no features, standing on the perimeter. She finds herself wondering: What did she want from me? What are the things that matter? At times dryly comical, at other times radiantly surreal, The Fifth Woman is a testament to the resurrecting power of memory and enduring love.
“The book I'm reading was from my first lover, Michelle. At the top of one page, she has written her name, and the date, then three dark arrows pointing down.”
—This Isn’t What I Came to Say