by Sonia Isard

Loneliness and Therapy

Woke Up Lonely (Graywolf Press, $26), by Fiona Maazel, is riveting and wild and often hilarious. From the noisy streets of Washington, DC to the underground tunnels of Cincinnati—even to North Korea and back—Maazel deftly weaves the story of Thurlow Dan, a cult leader drowning in his own unexpected success, and his brilliant and erratic ex-wife Esme, an FBI agent sent in to keep him in check. Thurlow and Esme chase one another around in circles, and it’s rarely clear which one of the two is one step ahead of the other. It reminds me of Salinger’s opening to Franny and Zooey—this is “a love story, pure and complicated.”

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