BookPeople is proud to partner with the Austin American-Statesman for our monthly Statesman Selects program. Each month, we get together to select one book you absolutely must not miss. January’s Statesman Selects pick is the debut novel Migratory Animals by Austin author Helen Specht. Pick up a copy of the Statesman on Sunday, January 18 to read their review. Join us here at BookPeople on Tuesday, January 20 when we host a launch party for Migratory Animals!
Mary Helen Specht teaches creative writing at St. Edward’s University. Her writing has been published in many publications, including the New York Times and Colorado Review. Migratory Animals is set here in Austin and tells the story of a group of thirty-something friends facing unexpected, life-changing challenges. Flannery, the novel’s main character, returns from five years in Nigeria to a shifted landscape of personal relationships and a sister diagnosed with a fatal genetic disease.
We’re looking forward to reading the Statesman‘s take on Migratory Animals this Sunday. Many writers have already offered praise for Specht’s debut novel:
“An ambitious, highly accomplished debut. . . . Specht moves among a deep cast of characters and corresponding perspectives with absolute mastery. . . . Most important, and impressive, is Specht’s sure handling of the interior life.” —Ben Fountain, author of Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk
“Mary Helen Specht’s lyrical novel reminds me of the work of both Claire Messud and Barbara Kingsolver. . . . A luminous debut. . . . Rich with love and heartbreak, it’s the book I’ll be wanting to share with all my friends.” —Amanda Eyre Ward, author of The Same Sky
“A novel of tremendous scope and insight that succeeds both as an exploration of larger global concerns and an acute examination of the most intimate parts of our lives. Mary Helen Specht is a terrific writer — passionate and generous, wry and insightful. A very moving debut.” —Molly Antopol, author of The UnAmericans
“An emotionally nuanced debut. . . . The men and women of Mary Helen Specht’s imagination inhabit a world of breathtaking vividness, where life’s pains and pleasures ripple through to marvelous effect. A heartbreaking, edifying, and resonant work of art.” —Keija Parssinen, author of The Ruins of Us
“A beautifully precise group portrait in which Mary Helen Specht manages to capture not just a particular set of characters but a generational mood and moment. . . . Without forcing any answers, it asks a powerful, probing question: how should you behave when life suddenly gets real?” —Stephen Harrigan, author of Remember Ben Clayton
We hope you can join us here at the store next Tuesday to celebrate the latest literary achievement of a terrific Austin writer!