Josie and Jack: A Novel (Paperback)
THRILLINGLY DANGEROUS, WORRYINGLY LIKEABLE: SOME SIBLINGS ARE BETTER KEPT APART • NOW A FILM, DIRECTED BY SARAH LANCASTER
Beautiful, brilliant, and inseparable, Josie and Jack Raeburn live a secluded, anarchic existence in their decaying western Pennsylvania home. The only adult in their lives is their rage-prone father, a physicist, whose erratic behavior finally drives them away. Without a moral compass to guide them, Jack leads Josie into a menacing world of wealth, eroticism, and betrayal. His sociopathic tendencies emerge, and soon Josie must decide which is stronger: the love and devotion she feels for her brother or her will to survive.
From its opening page to its shocking climax, this contemporary Hansel and Gretel story is compulsively readable and hugely entertaining.
About the Author
Kelly Braffet is the author of the novels Save Yourself, Josie and Jack and Last Seen Leaving, and The Unwilling. Her writing has been published in the New York Times and Vulture.com, as well as The Fairy Tale Review, Post Road, and several anthologies. She attended Sarah Lawrence College and Columbia University and currently lives in upstate New York.
“A first person book lives or dies by the person telling the story, and Braffet uses Josie’s voice to impressive effect . . .Braffet roils the reader to crave to find out what happens next, not because her main characters are figures to root for- pity the bystanders who get in their path- but because she has paced their often appalling adventures at a quick, sustained rhythm. The second half of the book, when our modern Hansel and Gretel run away to New York, beats faster still.”—New York Times Book Review
“A quirky and highly original debut. “—Marie Claire, UK
“Dark and gripping, it’s a cross between The Royal Tenenbaums and Shallow Grave.” –Elle, UK
“Braffet’s triumph is that she makes dysfunction fun again.”—East Bay Express
“Grand Guignol, the crisp dialogue is remarkably realistic. Braffet hooks us from the first page, creating a sense of menace that keeps us holding our breath, waiting for something unspeakable to happen, watching as the glue that binds her characters together slowly turns to deadly quicksand. This book is seductive and frightening.”—Lisa Dierbeck, author of One Pill Makes You Smaller
“Josie and Jack is lyrical, creepy, and wonderful. With elegant prose, Braffett casts a spell over her reader–I cannot stop thinking about Josie, Jack, and their harrowing world.” –Amanda Eyre Ward, author of Sleep Toward Heaven
“Fans of Patricia Highsmith and James M. Cain will be delighted to discover Kelly Braffet; she is that kind of good. This remarkable novel is as tender and engaging as it is disturbing.”—Binnie Kirshenbaum, author of An Almost Perfect Moment
“Deliciously intense, Josie and Jack is one of the most haunting novels I’ve read in years. Once it had me in its strange and wonderful grip, it refused to let me go.”—Lauren Grodstein, author of Reproduction is the Flaw of Love
“Josie and Jack reads like a lost Goth After School Special, wonderfully free of anything resembling a moral. A dark, sexy, licorice-flavored confection guaranteed to spoil your appetite for traditional coming-of-age novels.”—Joseph Gangemi, author of Inamorata
“Josie and Jack takes place within a wholly imagined space, wondrously dense and strange, which moves from a kind of enchanted/poisoned hothouse rural isolation to an urban reality that is both gritty and seemingly glamorous…..Kelly Braffet keeps us interested, alarmed, and involved for the whole of this descent from magical isolation into a grimmer, sadder world. I couldn’t stop reading this marvelous book.” —Peter Straub, author of Shadowland, Lost Boy Lost Girl, Ghost Story
“This modern-day adaptation [of Hansel and Gretl] retains all the frightening Gothic qualities of the original tale of mistreated siblings losing their way, getting trapped, and cunningly breaking free-though Braffet allows only one of her characters such redemption….A dramatic and horrific resolution is countered by Josie’s subtle maturation throughout, and we emerge from the book’s spell feeling almost hopeful.” —Library Journal