Written with the riveting storytelling and moral seriousness of authors like Emma Donoghue, Adam Johnson, Ann Patchett, and Curtis Sittenfeld, Cartwheel is a suspenseful and haunting novel of an American foreign exchange student arrested for murder, and a father trying to hold his family together.
When Lily Hayes arrives in Buenos Aires for her semester abroad, she is enchanted by everything she encounters: the colorful buildings, the street food, the handsome, elusive man next door. Her studious roommate Katy is a bit of a bore, but Lily didn't come to Argentina to hang out with other Americans.
Five weeks later, Katy is found brutally murdered in their shared home, and Lily is the prime suspect. But who is Lily Hayes? It depends on who's asking. As the case takes shape - revealing deceptions, secrets, and suspicious DNA - Lily appears alternately sinister and guileless through the eyes of those around her: the media, her family, the man who loves her and the man who seeks her conviction. With mordant wit and keen emotional insight, Cartwheel offers a prismatic investigation of the ways we decide what to see - and to believe - in one another and ourselves.
In Cartwheel, duBois delivers a novel of propulsive psychological suspense and rare moral nuance. No two readers will agree who Lily is and what happened to her roommate. Cartwheel will keep you guessing until the final page, and its questions about how well we really know ourselves will linger well beyond.
A pick for The Millions' Most Anticipated Books of 2013
"An astonishing, breathtaking, and harrowing read." (New York Journal of Books)
"[DuBois] does an excellent job of creating and maintaining a pervasive feeling of foreboding and suspense.... An acute psychological study of character that rises to the level of the philosophical.... Cartwheel is very much its own individual work of the author's creative imagination." (Booklist)
"Jennifer duBois, a writer whose fierce intelligence is matched only by her deep humanity, hits us with a marvelous second novel that intertwines a gripping tale of murder abroad with an intimate story of family heartbreak. Every sentence crackles with wit and vision. Every page casts a spell." (Maggie Shipstead, New York Times best-selling author of Seating Arrangements)
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Unsatisfying and Disappointing
This novel sadly fizzled and by the end, I completely checked out and I did not care. I have no problem with characters and stories that stay within the shades of grey; however, I do have a problem with poor character development that leaves the reader utterly indifferent.