The Shades: A Novel
The Shades is a gripping mystery and a story of a family in crisis.
A year has passed since Catherine and Michael Hall lost their teenage daughter in a car accident, leaving them and their sixteen-year-old son, Rowan, reeling in the aftermath of the tragedy. After Rowan escapes to boarding school, Catherine withdraws from her life as a successful London gallerist to Hamdean, an apartment in a Georgian country manor, where she and Michael had hoped to spend their retirement. When Keira, a beguiling young woman, appears at the house claiming to have once lived there, Catherine is reanimated by the promise of a meaningful connection. However, their relationship soon shifts to one of forbidding uncertainty as the mysteries of the past collide with the truth of the present.
Emotionally complex and psychologically tense, The Shades raises questions about the inescapability of human nature and speaks to our deepest anxieties: the safety of those we love and the sanctuary of home.
“An ancient narrative shimmers through Evgenia Citkowitz’s intricately constructed debut novel, which tells the thrilling story of a modern British family haunted by ghosts of its own making. Written in cool and crystalline prose, “The Shades” unspools in a rational and realistic world in which all is not as it seems.”
“An absorbing book by an author who knows how to create organic suspense without ever overplaying her hand....Citkowitz doesn't waste a word; it's a book that's both intricately plotted and perfectly paced....an excellent debut novel that deals heavily with death, but still feels alive, compassionate, and full of truths about family that are brutal but necessary.”
“Brilliantly constructed, The Shades is ghostly and alive, cerebral and sensuous, an absolutely riveting read.”
“…spare, arresting, and emotionally precise. A thoroughly modern novel with a Gothic feel; a fully realized vision.”
“If you’re looking for a mystery to keep you on the edge of your seat, add this electrifying new novel by Evgenia Citkowitz to your reading list.”
“The prose sparkles as [Citkowitz] unpacks emotional wounds… . This compact family drama captures the thinly masked desperation of grief with an eerie undercurrent.”
“Evgenia Citkowitz’s The Shades, is not a first novel, it is a tour-de-force, a powerful, wicked, compassionate, and beautifully written account of the dangers we keep in our head and heart, including love. Citkowitz, a master of mood, alters our vision of what fiction is, or should be, by altering our perception of it’s possibilities in page after glorious page in this startling and startlingly original book.”
—HILTON ALS, Pulitzer Prize-winning critic and author of White Girls and The Women
“The Shades is an elegant meditation on marriage, grief, and loss. In cool and beguiling prose, with a style all her own. Evgenia Citkowitz’s taut and powerful novel is part mystery, part psychological portrait, and every bit engaging.”
—MARIA SEMPLE, author of Today Will Be Different and Where’d You Go, Bernadette
“Evgenia Citkowitz has written a haunting novel about love and loss that moves fascinatingly back and forth across the borderlines of reality and myth. Her bold use of the cultured English upper middle class as the setting for a savage reimagining of Orpheus and Eurydice marks her out as a gifted, original writer.”
—JAMES LASDUN, author of The Fall Guy and The Horned Man
“THE SHADES compels with searing intensity. This extraordinary myth-like novel, about a family's loss and unraveling, will live on in your imagination for a long time. Evgenia Citkowitz is a remarkable writer.”
—CLAIRE MESSUD, author of The Burning Girl and The Emperor's Children
“I have never read a novel in which the events are recounted with such subtle interweaving back and forth through time, building up a deeply woven texture of thought and emotion. A brilliant piece of story-telling”
—TIM PEARS, author of The Horsemanand In the Place of Fallen Leaves
“This is a beautifully written account of how unpredictably grief operates, and how bereavement may undermine not just your contentment but your very identity. You knock back THE SHADES in a single draught. But then it kicks you in the guts.”
—David Hare, author of Collateral and The Moderate Soprano
“The Shades is an elegy that reads like a fever dream of loss, a jewel box that enthralls...”
—BRUCE WAGNER, author of The Empty Chair and I Met Someone