A searing novel about the love and contradictions of sisterhood, the intoxicating desires of adolescence, and the traumas that trap mothers and daughters in cycles of violence
One weekend, sisters Tanya and Nessa Bloom pause their...Read More
One weekend, sisters Tanya and Nessa Bloom pause their respective adult lives and travel to the Boston suburbs to help their mother pack up and move out of their childhood home. For the first time since they were teenagers sharing a bunk bed over a decade ago, they find themselves in the place where long-kept secrets were born, where jealousy, comfort, anger, forgiveness, and repulsion coexist with the fiercest love and loyalty. What they don't expect is for their visit to expose a new, horrifying truth: their mother, Lorraine, is in a violent relationship.
As Tanya urges Lorraine to get a restraining order, Nessa struggles to reconcile her fondness for their stepfather with his capacity for brutality. Their differing responses to the abuse bring up the sisters' shared secret - a traumatic, unspoken experience from their adolescence has shaped their lives, their sense of selves, and their relationship with each other and the men in their life. In the midst of this family crisis, they have no choice but to reckon with the past and face each other in the present, in the hope that there's a way out of the violence so deeply ingrained in the Bloom family.
Told in alternating perspectives that deftly interweave past and present, Something Wild is a magnetic, unflinching portrait of the bond between sisters, as well as a psychologically acute exploration of the legacy of divorce, the ways trauma reverberates over generations, and how it might be possible to overcome the past.
Hanna Halperin is a graduate of the MFA program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her stories have been published in the Kenyon Review, n+1, New Ohio Review, Joyland, and others. She has taught fiction workshops at Grub Street in Boston and worked as a domestic violence counselor.
"Weaving between the past and the present of all three women, Something Wild creates a compelling, believable and upsetting portrayal of how trauma ripples through a family." - Scaachi Koul, The New York Times Book Review
"Rarely has an author taken the time and demonstrated such honesty with the complexity of girls' desire and how they act on it, how it can sour the sweetest relationship. . . . At a time when many novels rely on intricate plots or eccentric narrative voices, Something Wild eschews literary pyrotechnics and relies instead on the power of truth. We may not like what we see, but we know we're being given an opportunity to change the way we look at sexual dynamics." - Bethanne Patrick, The Washington Post
"This wise, brilliant novel is so special, so overflowing with honesty and love--about motherhood, sisterhood, what it's like to be a woman--that every paragraph feels like an epiphany. Hanna Halperin knows the fierce love that can exist especially among broken things. Something Wild moved me deeply." - Glennon Doyle, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Untamed
"What if you found out your mother was being abused? Tanya and Nessa head back to Boston to help their mother move out of their childhood home, only to find out that she's in an abusive relationship with their stepfather. The sisters want to tackle the issue in different ways, colored by a secret experience they've lived through." - Zibby Owens, Good Morning America
"Bold and surprising. . . . Unflinching and brave, Halperin's story lays bare the characters' nuanced and complicated responses to domestic violence. This haunting portrait of a broken family will stay with readers." - Publishers Weekly
"Unflinchingly honest . . . refreshing and haunting. The novel . . . tackles difficult questions about abusive relationships, toxic secrets, and romantic and familial betrayals. . . . Gripping. . . . A bold and remorseless debut about the agony and affection that are attendant to complicated families." - Kirkus Reviews
"When sisters Tanya and Nessa Bloom travel to the Boston suburbs to help their mom pack up their childhood home, they reckon with their past while discovering a disturbing truth: their mother is in an abusive relationship. Now, they must figure out what comes next for all of them." - Marie Claire
"A story of sisters and mothers, and the secrets they keep. When they return home to help their mother move, Tanya and Nessa discover their mom is in an abusive relationship. As they try to convince their mother to leave, each woman will be forced to confront memories they would rather forget." - PopSugar
"Something Wild is the story of the fierce love and secrets that exist between sisters Tanya and Nessa and their mother, Lorraine--but I was just as impressed by the radical interiority that Hanna Halperin grants her characters. The women of this novel are painted with startling honesty and insight: they think the unthinkable, do the unfixable, and their raw vulnerability is thrilling, for it acknowledges our own. In this emotionally astute debut, Hanna Halperin shows herself to be a writer who is as compassionate as she is unafraid of darkness and taboo. Something Wild is tender, fearless, and savagely alive." - Chloe Benjamin, New York Times bestselling author of The Immortalists