Portraits at the Palace of Creativity and Wrecking by Han Smith

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“Kaleidoscopic and beguiling . . . A singular and thrilling debut that shows what happens when objective truth and meaning are drowned in the shifting river of history and politics” Andrew McMillan

The almost daughter is almost normal, because she knows how to know and also not know.

She knows and does not know, for instance, about the barracks by the athletics field, and about the lonely woman she visits each week. She knows – almost – about ghosts, and their ghosts, and she knows not to have questions about them. She knows to focus on being a woman: on training her body and dreaming only of escape.

Then, the almost daughter meets Oksana. Oksana is not even almost normal, and the questions she has are not normal at all.

Portraits at the Palace of Creativity and Wrecking is the story of a young woman coming of age in a town reckoning with its brutal past, for readers of Milkman and A Girl is a Half-Formed Thing.