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Songs Without Words
Songs Without Words


More books by...

The Dive From Clausen's Pier
The Dive From Clausen's Pier


Mendocino and Other Stories
Mendocino and Other Stories


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Ann Packer
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Elena Seibert

Author Name

Ann Packer received a Great Lakes Book Award and the Kate Chopin Literary Award for The Dive from Clausen's Pier, a national best seller that has been translated into ten languages. Also the author of Mendocino and Other Stories, she lives in northern California with her family. She is available for lectures and readings through the Knopf Speaker's Bureau. You may also visit her on the web: www.annpacker.com.

Ann Packer's debut novel, The Dive from Clausen's Pier, was a nationwide best seller that established her as one of our most gifted chroniclers of the interior lives of women. Now, in her long-awaited second novel, she takes us on a journey into a lifelong friendship pushed to the breaking point. Expertly, with the keen introspection and psychological nuance that are her hallmarks, she explores what happens when there are inequities between friends and when the hard-won balances of a long relationship are disturbed, perhaps irreparably, by a harrowing crisis. Liz and Sarabeth were childhood neighbors in the suburbs of northern California, brought as close as sisters by the suicide of Sarabeth's mother when the girls were just sixteen. In the decades that followed—through Liz's marriage and the birth of her children, through Sarabeth's attempts to make a happy life for herself despite the shadow cast by her mother's act—their relationship remained a source of continuity and strength. But when Liz's adolescent daughter enters dangerous waters that threaten to engulf the family, the fault lines in the women's friendship are revealed, and both Liz and Sarabeth are forced to reexamine their most deeply held beliefs about their connection. Songs Without Words is about the sometimes confining roles we take on in our closest relationships, about the familial myths that shape us both as children and as parents, and about the limits—and the power—of the friendships we create when we are young.

Once again, Ann Packer has written a novel of singular force and complexity: thoughtful, moving, and absolutely gripping, it more than confirms her prodigious literary gifts.

"Welcome back to Packer country, a richly psychological terrain where finding the balance between responsibility to others and obligation to oneself is never obvious or easy. . . . Engrossing, forgiving and quietly wise, Songs never makes a false step as Packer keeps both the pages and her readers' minds turning until the very end." —People

"Packer writes about adult female friendship with a nuanced understanding of its emotional intensity. . . . One of Packer's strengths as a writer is her ability to subtly shift tone and voice to bring us into the interior of very different characters. The narrative moves with ease." —Los Angeles Times Book Review

"Subtle and complex. It's a compelling family drama about friendship, the past, guilt and unconscious patterns set in childhood. What's most impressive about Songs is Packer's ability to set a story in the wealthy and beautiful suburbs of San Francisco and make her characters' suffering authentic. . . . Packer effectively conveys the downward spiral of her thoughts and her growing reservoir of self-hate and disordered thinking. This is an excellent rendering of adolescent depression, female-style. . . . Packer makes us understand why life is simply harder for some people." —USA Today