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A Novel

This book can be downloaded and read in iBooks on your Mac or iOS device.


When you invite a stranger into your home, you never know who's really coming in . . .

Myra is a Manhattan psychotherapist. A quick study and an excellent judge of character, she thinks she knows what she's getting when she hires a nanny—it's her job, after all, to analyze people. Her phobia-addled son has just moved back in with his wife and child, and the new nanny, Eva, seems like a perfect addition: she cleans like a demon and irons like a dream, and she forms an immediate bond with Myra's grandson.
But as Eva, a Peruvian immigrant, reveals more of herself, what seemed a felicitous arrangement turns ominous. She racks the household with screams from a night terror. She spits in her hands to ward off evil spirits. Then, one afternoon, she settles into Myra's patient chair and begins to expose the secrets of her past. Their relationship slowly and inexorably becomes too close, too dependent, and, ultimately, terrifyingly destructive. As events spiral out of Myra's control, she learns that even a family as close-knit as her own can have plenty to hide.
In the rich tradition of Lionel Shriver, Jane Hamilton, and Anne Tyler, the psychoanalyst and novelist Lisa Gornick tells us a story about the tragedy of good intentions. Tinderbox spins a suspenseful mystery of hidden traumas. It's a searingly perceptive, deeply honest novel about families and secrets, and power, and love.

From Publishers Weekly

Sep 09, 2013 – This well-crafted novel from Gornick (A Private Sorcery) tells the story of a family knocked off-balance with warm assurance. Myra is the definition of graceful aging, but her carefully structured life is interrupted when her son and his family move back in with her while his wife, Rachida, completes her medical training. At the same time, Myra hires Eva, a Peruvian Jewish woman just arrived in New York, as a housemaid and nanny. Eva is sweet and diligent, but Myra, a psychologist, quickly notices signs of troubling behavior. Eva's issues and their causes hover in the background as the marriage of Myra's son, Adam, sputters and her daughter, Caro, successful in her career but stalled otherwise, tries to work through her own problems. The novel builds to a dramatic crisis, but it maintains a level tone throughout; sometimes this formality or equanimity takes away from the reading experience, as when conversations seem unnaturally articulate, but in general, turning the pages is a pleasure. There is betrayal, sadness, and tragedy, and particular richness in details about the varieties of the characters' Jewish experiences Eva and Rachida come from communities in Peru and Morocco, respectively, while Myra's family is ambivalent about religion that provide interest and structure, but apart from all this, it's the realistic portrayal of relationships and personalities that carries the book.
View in iTunes
  • $7.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Literary
  • Published: Sep 10, 2013
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
  • Seller: Macmillan
  • Print Length: 320 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

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