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About The Book

An “enchanting” (Caroline Kepnes, author of You) “fairy-tale-inflected thriller” (The New Yorker) about two sisters who encounter a captivating yet possibly dangerous underworld cult that challenges their perception of reality.

Rose has come a long way. Raised—and often neglected—by a wayward mother in New York City’s chaotic bohemia, she has finally built the life she’s always wanted: a good job at a self-help startup, a clean apartment, an engagement to a stable if self-satisfied tech CEO who shares her faith in human potential, hard work, and the sacrifice of childish dreams.

Rose’s sister Cecilia, on the other hand, never grew up. Irresponsible and impetuous, prone to jetting off to a European monastery one month and a falcon rescue the next, Cecilia has spent her life in pursuit of fairy-tale narratives of transcendence and true love—grand ideas Rose knows never work out in the real world. When Cecilia declares she’s come home to New York for good, following the ending of a whirlwind marriage, Rose hopes Cecilia might find a way to be ready to face adulthood: compromises and all.

But then Cecilia gets involved with the Avalon: a cabaret troupe—one that appears only at night on a boat that travels New York’s waterways—and soon vanishes. The only way Rose can find Cecilia is by tracking down Avalon herself.

But as Rose gets closer to solving the mystery of what happened to her sister, the Avalon works its magic on her, too. And the deeper she goes into the Avalon’s underworld, the more she begins to question everything she knows about her own life, and whether she’s willing to leave the real world behind.

About The Author

Rose Callahan

Tara Isabella Burton is the author of the novels Here in Avalon, The World Cannot Give, and Social Creature, which was named a Best Book of the Year by The New York TimesVulture, and The Guardian. She is also the author of the nonfiction books Strange Rites and Self-Made. She has written on religion, culture, and place for The New York Times, National GeographicThe Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, and more. She received a doctorate in theology from Trinity College, Oxford.

Product Details

  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster (January 2, 2024)
  • Length: 320 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781982170110

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Raves and Reviews

“Dreams of escaping the mundane animate this fairy-tale-inflected thriller set in contemporary New York. The novel’s action centers on Cecilia, a flighty “seeker” whose mercurial bent leads her to abandon a new marriage, ditch her sister, Rose, and take up with a cultish, seafaring cabaret troupe.... Exploring the bond between the markedly different siblings, Burton examines their life styles—the bourgeois and the bohemian, the materialistic and the artistic—through a whimsical lens.” –The New Yorker

“Crackling with tension and magic, and full of poignant questions about dreams and desires, HERE IN AVALON is Burton’s best book thus far. Perfect for readers of fractured fairy tales, novels involving sibling dynamics, and anyone who wants to escape their woes for a night, this is a treat as decadent and dangerous as a poisoned apple.”—Bookreporter

“Burton’s latest enthralls while exploring the frequently fraught nature of adult sibling relationships. Cecilia serves as the book’s third rail, dividing its characters and imbuing every scene with a crackling tension. At once spellbinding and sincere.”—Kirkus

Here In Avalon is an exploration of this tension: between the “insane” and the “well-adjusted,” the secular and the enchanted, rationalistic and magical thinking, the self-selected and the gratuitously received…. Without offering any definitive answers, the novel’s plot confronts us with the reality that while an “algorithmic” life can promise us safety and predictability, a life spent chasing after enchantment and surprises can open the door to danger as well as to joyous rapture.”—RealClear Books

“Truly entrancing…. this title claims the spot for my favorite fiction read since Susanna Clarke’s Piranesi.”—Englewood Review

“This book is moody, musical, and mystical, elements that become catalysts for characters to make existential decisions about how to live. Among Burton's strengths are descriptions of the city and of the hard choices we all make. Readers will enjoy this satisfying story of sisters trying to understand each other.”—Booklist

“Tara Isabella Burton's HERE IN AVALON is a salty, whimsical-in-the-best-way, windy, enchanting, operatic story. It made me feel like the luckiest reader in the world. There is so much to love in here, most of all, the refreshing cast of unforgettable characters, misfits and searchers who don't always know what they want, let alone how to get it. A truly exciting, stand-out, star of a book."—CAROLINE KEPNES, author of New York Times bestseller YOU

“There is absolutely nothing I didn't love about this remarkable, exceptionally engaging and intelligent, luminous and transfixing urban fairytale for grownups. It is one of those rare books that, seemingly without any deliberate effort, lift you up above the familiar, ordinary grayness of the daily grind and, however fleetingly or enduringly, remind you to feel grateful for being alive. Indeed, it is true: another life is possible, happiness awaits patiently for you to believe in its promise—and yes, everything connects.”—MIKHAIL IOSSEL, author of Love Like Water, Love Like Fire

“An utterly enchanting read that springs from the shadowy depths and liminal spaces of New York City, Here in Avalon dared us to shatter the binding social contracts we’ve signed in search of something greater, and is a dazzling testament to the realest magic in the world: family.”—LING LING HUANG, author of Natural Beauty

“A New York City fairy tale with the dark intrigue of a 1920s noir, Here In Avalon is a hypnotic story of sisterhood, tragedy, and yearning. For love, for art, for beauty— and for the reckless courage to chase them, no matter the cost.” —KAT ROSENFIELD, author of You Must Remember This

Here in Avalon is a fascinating trip to a demimonde of Burton's prodigious imagination. In its mysterious bacchanal, we find a unique story about the seductions of art and beauty, and the temptation to leave the stultifying mainstream behind.”—LYDIA KIESLING, author of The Golden State and Mobility

“Adeptly warping traditional fairy tropes, Burton weaves a lush ode to searching for the magic in life…. Raises poignant questions about happiness, need, and personal growth, and leading readers to a startling and satisfying conclusion. This is a treat.”—Publishers Weekly

“A gripping and thoughtful fable of the theater of belief, the transformative promise (and menace) of art, and the costs of community and self-invention, HERE IN AVALON wears its pleasures proudly and its learnedness lightly. Tara Isabella Burton spirits you away and sets you wondering—if not quite caring—whether you'll be coming back.” —JULIUS TARANTO, author of How I Won a Nobel Prize

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