Shortlisted, Flaherty-Dunnan First Novel Prize
Lamb traces the self-discovery of David Lamb, a narcissistic middle aged man with a tendency toward dishonesty, in the weeks following the disintegration of his marriage and the death of his father. Hoping to regain some faith in his own goodness, he turns his attention to Tommie, an awkward and unpopular eleven-year-old girl. Lamb is convinced that he can help her avoid a destiny of apathy and emptiness, and even comes to believe that his devotion to Tommie is in her best interest. But when Lamb decides to abduct a willing Tommie for a road trip from Chicago to the Rockies, planning to initiate her into the beauty of the mountain wilderness, they are both shaken in ways neither of them expects.
Lamb is a masterful exploration of the dynamics of love and dependency that challenges the boundaries between adolescence and adulthood, confronts preconceived notions about conventional morality, and exposes mankind’s eroded relationship with nature.
“Beautifully written.” –More Magazine, Editor’s Picks: The Hottest Fall Novels
“Brilliant, dark and very disturbing…In this stunning debut, Nadzam takes a lot of risks, and the results are thrilling.” –The Cleveland Plain Dealer
“Nadzam pulls off a neat trick here…While kneejerk comparisons to Lolita are inevitable, David Lamb is playing a different game than Humbert Humbert.” – The Daily Beast, “Great Weekend Reads”
“Surprisingly tender, highly inappropriate…Nadzam deserves credit for her convincing portrait of a middle-aged male burnout…[Lamb] is difficult and beautiful, and though it may not be normal, it feels very real.” –Time Out New York
“A remarkably gentle first novel about the brutality of self-discovery.” –Shelf Awareness
“Lolita gets a 21st-century spin in this gripping debut… Nadzam has a crisp, fluid writing style, and her dialogue is reminiscent of Sam Shepard’s…it’s a fine first effort: storytelling as accomplished as it is unsettling.” –Publishers Weekly
“A disturbing and elusive novel about manipulation and desperate friendship.” –Kirkus Reviews
“Compelling…[Lamb] will find an audience among serious readers.” –Library Journal
“Bonnie Nadzam manages to write gorgeous prose about people and skies and mountains while still creating tension and suspense on the level of a thriller, while also walking us into complex and delicate and unsettling moral territory with brilliant subtlety and insight. Lamb is a remarkable debut, by a writer to watch. I will be thinking about these characters for a long time.” –Aimee Bender, author of The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake
“Lamb is one of the most powerful and original novels I have read in years. Beautiful, evocative, and brilliant.” –T.C. Boyle, author of When the Killing’s Done
“Lamb is a wonder of a novel. Bonnie Nadzam has offered an exploration of interpersonal and sexual manipulation and power that left me reeling. This is a novel about responsibility, complicity, blame, neglect, and finally love.” –Percival Everett, author of I Am Not Sidney Poitier and Erasure
“Every sentence in Bonnie Nadzam’s Lamb teaches us about love, necessity, and the mysteries of the heart. I am haunted by her two protagonists, and by the journey they take together. This utterly compelling novel has launched a major new voice in American fiction.” –David Mason, author of Ludlow
“Bonnie Nadzam’s debut is gripping, gorgeous, and utterly original. The disturbing story resists easy categorization, challenging what we think we know about childhood, adulthood, pain, beauty, and love. This book will jolt you awake.” –Anna North, author of America Pacifica