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A Novel

Written by Jennifer duBoisAuthor Alerts:  Random House will alert you to new works by Jennifer duBois



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List Price: $11.99

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On Sale: September 24, 2013
Pages: 416 | ISBN: 978-0-8129-9587-9
Published by : Random House Random House Group

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Read by Emily Rankin
On Sale: September 24, 2013
ISBN: 978-0-8041-6485-6
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Read by Emily Rankin
On Sale: September 24, 2013
ISBN: 978-0-8041-6486-3
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ABOUT THE BOOK ABOUT THE BOOK
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Synopsis

Synopsis

NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY
Slate • Cosmopolitan • Salon • BuzzFeed • BookPage

Written with the riveting storytelling of authors like Emma Donoghue, Adam Johnson, Ann Patchett, and Curtis Sittenfeld, Cartwheel is a suspenseful and haunting novel of an American foreign exchange student arrested for murder, and a father trying to hold his family together.
 
When Lily Hayes arrives in Buenos Aires for her semester abroad, she is enchanted by everything she encounters: the colorful buildings, the street food, the handsome, elusive man next door. Her studious roommate Katy is a bit of a bore, but Lily didn’t come to Argentina to hang out with other Americans.
 
Five weeks later, Katy is found brutally murdered in their shared home, and Lily is the prime suspect. But who is Lily Hayes? It depends on who’s asking. As the case takes shape—revealing deceptions, secrets, and suspicious DNA—Lily appears alternately sinister and guileless through the eyes of those around her: the media, her family, the man who loves her and the man who seeks her conviction. With mordant wit and keen emotional insight, Cartwheel offers a prismatic investigation of the ways we decide what to see—and to believe—in one another and ourselves.
 
In Cartwheel, duBois delivers a novel of propulsive psychological suspense and rare moral nuance. No two readers will agree who Lily is and what happened to her roommate. Cartwheel will keep you guessing until the final page, and its questions about how well we really know ourselves will linger well beyond.

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“A smart, literary thriller [for] fans of Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl.”The Huffington Post
 
“Psychologically astute . . . Dubois hits [the] larger sadness just right and dispenses with all the salacious details you can readily find elsewhere. . . . The writing in Cartwheel is a pleasure—electric, fine-tuned, intelligent, conflicted. The novel is engrossing, and its portraiture hits delightfully and necessarily close to home.”The New York Times Book Review (Editor’s Choice)
 
“Marvelous . . . a gripping tale . . . Every sentence crackles with wit and vision. Every page casts a spell.”—Maggie Shipstead, author of Seating Arrangements

“[You’ll] break your own record of pages read per minute as you tear through this book.”Marie Claire
 
“A convincing, compelling tale . . . The story plays out in all its well-told complexity.”—New York Daily News

“[A] gripping, gorgeously written novel . . . The emotional intelligence in Cartwheel is so sharp it’s almost ruthless—a tabloid tragedy elevated to high art. [Grade:] A-”—Entertainment Weekly
 
“Sure-footed and psychologically calibrated . . . Reviewers of duBois’s first novel, A Partial History of Lost Causes, called it brainy and beautiful, a verdict that fits this successor. . . . As the pages fly, the reader hardly notices that duBois has stretched the genre of the criminal procedural. The limberness is welcome, indeed.”Newsday

“The power of Cartwheel resides in duBois’ talent for understanding how the foreign world can illuminate the most deeply held secrets we keep from others, and ourselves.”Chicago Tribune
Jennifer duBois

About Jennifer duBois

Jennifer duBois - Cartwheel

Photo © Ilana Panich-Linsman

Jennifer duBois’s A Partial History of Lost Causes was one of the most acclaimed debuts of recent years. It was a finalist for the PEN/Hemingway Award for Debut Fiction, winner of the California Book Award for First Fiction and the Northern California Book Award for Fiction, and O: The Oprah Magazine chose it as one of the ten best books of the year. DuBois was also named one of the National Book Foundation’s 5 Under 35 authors. A graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, duBois recently completed a Stegner Fellowship at Stanford University. Originally from Massachusetts, she now lives in Texas.
Praise

Praise

“A smart, literary thriller [for] fans of Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl.”The Huffington Post
 
“Psychologically astute . . . DuBois hits [the] larger sadness just right and dispenses with all the salacious details you can readily find elsewhere. . . . The writing in Cartwheel is a pleasure—electric, fine-tuned, intelligent, conflicted. The novel is engrossing, and its portraiture hits delightfully and necessarily close to home.”The New York Times Book Review (Editor’s Choice)
 
“[You’ll] break your own record of pages read per minute as you tear through this book.”Marie Claire
 
“Jennifer duBois is destined for great things.”Cosmopolitan

“A convincing, compelling tale . . . The story plays out in all its well-told complexity.”—New York Daily News

“[A] gripping, gorgeously written novel . . . The emotional intelligence in Cartwheel is so sharp it’s almost ruthless—a tabloid tragedy elevated to high art. [Grade:] A-”—Entertainment Weekly
 
“Sure-footed and psychologically calibrated . . . Reviewers of duBois’s first novel, A Partial History of Lost Causes, called it brainy and beautiful, a verdict that fits this successor. . . . As the pages fly, the reader hardly notices that duBois has stretched the genre of the criminal procedural. The limberness is welcome, indeed.”Newsday

“Something more provocative, meaningful and suspenseful than the tabloids and social media could provide . . . [DuBois] tells a great story. . . . The power of Cartwheel resides in duBois’ talent for understanding how the foreign world can illuminate the most deeply held secrets we keep from others, and ourselves.”Chicago Tribune

“[Jennifer duBois is] heir to some of the great novelists of the past, writers who caught the inner lives of their characters and rendered them on the page in beautiful, studied prose. . . . She aims to observe the thoughts that intrude at the most inappropriate times, to capture memories and intricate emotions, and to make penetrating comments about living today. In Cartwheel, she accomplishes this with acrobatic precision.”Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

“From the first page, duBois’s intelligent, penetrating writing makes this sad story captivating, delivering it from the realm of scuttlebutt and into that of art. . . . What else can we learn from these events? The answer is plenty, as duBois explores grief and love, youth and aging, and Americans abroad through a set of distinctive characters bound by calamity.”The Dallas Morning News

“[A] thrilling book . . . What influences our perception of reality—morality, faith, sexuality, privilege—and what happens when we realize those perceptions aren’t infallible? Recommended for: Anyone who . . . tends to get sucked into Law and Order and/or Criminal Minds marathons, or anyone who thrives on suspense.”BuzzFeed

“[A] compelling, carefully crafted, and, most importantly, satisfying novel.”—Bustle

“An astonishing, breathtaking, and harrowing read.”New York Journal of Books

“[DuBois] does an excellent job of creating and maintaining a pervasive feeling of foreboding and suspense. . . . An acute psychological study of character that rises to the level of the philosophical . . . Cartwheel is very much its own individual work of the author’s creative imagination.”Booklist (starred review)

“Jennifer duBois, a writer whose fierce intelligence is matched only by her deep humanity, hits us with a marvelous second novel that intertwines a gripping tale of murder abroad with an intimate story of family heartbreak. Every sentence crackles with wit and vision. Every page casts a spell.”—Maggie Shipstead, New York Times bestselling author of Seating Arrangements

Cartwheel is so gripping, so fantastically evocative, that I could not, would not, put it down. Jennifer duBois is a writer of thrilling psychological precision. She dares to pause a moment, digging into the mess of crime and accusation, culture and personality, the known and unknown, and coming up with a sensational novel of profound depth.”—Justin Torres, New York Times bestselling author of We the Animals

“Jennifer duBois’s Cartwheel seized my attention and held it in a white-knuckled grip until I found myself reluctantly and compulsively turning its final pages very late at night. It’s an addictive book that made me miss train stops and wouldn’t let me go to sleep until I’d read just one more chapter. And it’s so much more than just a ravenous page-turner—it’s a rumination on the bloodthirsty rubbernecking of the twenty-four-hour news cycle and the bewitching powers of social media, and a scalpel-sharp dissection of innocence abroad, a book charged with a refreshing anger, but always empathic. Jennifer duBois has captured the sleazy leer of lurid crime and somehow twisted it into a work of art.”—Benjamin Hale, author of The Evolution of Bruno Littlemore

“Like its namesake, Cartwheel will upend you; rarely does a novel this engaging ring so true. Inscribed with the emotional intimacy of memory, this is one story you will not soon forget.”—T. Geronimo Johnson, author of Hold It ’Til It Hurts


From the Hardcover edition.
Discussion Questions|Suggestions

Discussion Guides

1. The first paragraph of Cartwheel ends with a chilling statement: “The things that go wrong are rarely the things you’ve thought to worry about.” Why do you think the author makes such a pronouncement at the beginning of the novel? What does she mean? Is this true in your life?

2. The story in Cartwheel is very much of our time. Lily’s case becomes an international sensation because of Facebook, blogs, and the way shocking news and information can travel around the world within minutes. Social media plays a big role in Cartwheel. Does this change your view of social media? How do you use social media to share details of your life? What about your family members?

3. Why do you think Jennifer duBois chose to tell the story from four points of view? How does that affect the experience of reading it? 

4. At one point, Lily’s sister Anna says “everyone wants to love Lily,” and that she’s always played by different rules. Why does Anna think this?

5. Lily’s father, Andrew, believes “everything vile about your children was to some degree vile about yourself.” Is this a fair statement? Do Lily’s parents fail her, or is this parental guilt?

6. What impact does her sister’s ordeal have on Anna?

7. The title of the book comes from the cartwheel Lily turned between interrogation sessions. Why did the author choose this image as significant? 

8. In what ways are Lily and Katy different? Why does Lily feel Katy’s life was “easy”? Is she being fair?

9. Have you, or someone you know, studied abroad? Do you think it benefits college students to visit other countries? Why do you think Lily wanted to study abroad? What was she looking for?

10. Eduardo, attorney for the prosecution, believes Lily is guilty but that she doesn’t understand why what she did was wrong. Do you agree?

11. Sebastien is an enigmatic character. What do you think Lily is attracted to about him? Where do you think his addiction for obscuring half-irony comes from? What consequences does it have for the unfolding of events?

12. The author uses ambiguity to tell this story. How does that affect your understanding of what happened? Which character do you trust the most?

13. Lily calls her family “repressed,” saying they never learned how to mourn their first child, the sister who died before Lily and Anna were born. Why does she say she and Anna were treated like “replacement children”?

14. Do you believe the whole story comes out at Lily’s trial? 

Suggested Readings

Travelers Abroad—Five Favorite Fictional Journeys
by JENNIFER DUBOIS

PRAGUE, Arthur Phillips
Arthur Phillips’s smart, sharply funny first novel follows a group of expats in post-Communist Budapest. Collectively, they are plagued by the creeping suspicion that real life is elsewhere—in the past, perhaps, or just possibly in Prague.

THE QUIET AMERICAN, Graham Greene
A prophetic critique of the folly of mapping simple theories onto complex realities, The Quiet American is also a broad reflection on the dangers of innocence itself; innocence, Greene writes, is “like a dumb leper who has lost his bell, wandering the world, meaning no harm.”

DEATH IN VENICE, Thomas Mann
Thomas Mann’s classic novella follows a German academic’s consuming obsession with a young boy he spots while traveling in Venice. As his quest to attract the boy grows increasingly grotesque—and the threat of a looming cholera outbreak grows increasingly real—the story’s surreal dreaminess becomes a nightmare’s.

THE RELUCTANT FUNDAMENTALIST, Mohsin Hamid
This nuanced meditation on nationality, allegiance, and home is structured as a conversation between two travelers: a Pakistani speaker called Changez, and the unnamed (and possibly armed) American who listens to his story.

PALE FIRE, Vladimir Nabokov
Pale Fire is full of exiles: there is American writer John Shade, exiled from his own epic poem by the long-winded footnotes of academic Charles Kinbote, himself an exile from the mysterious land of Zembla, whose commentary increasingly concerns the story of Zembla’s own exiled king. A prismatic exploration of narrative itself, Pale Fire is a book that somehow becomes a universe—making dazzled voyagers of us all.
 

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