Eliza Naumann, a seemingly unremarkable nine-year-old, expects never to fit into her gifted family: her autodidact father, Saul, absorbed in his study of Jewish mysticism; her brother, Aaron, the vessel of his father's spiritual ambitions; and her brilliant but distant lawyer-mom, Miriam. But when Eliza sweeps her school and district spelling bees in quick succession, Saul takes it as a sign that she is destined for greatness. In this altered reality, Saul inducts her into his hallowed study and lavishes upon her the attention previously reserved for Aaron, who in his displacement embarks upon a lone quest for spiritual fulfillment. When Miriam's secret life triggers a familial explosion, it is Eliza who must order the chaos.
Myla Goldberg's keen eye for detail brings Eliza's journey to three-dimensional life. As she rises from classroom obscurity to the blinding lights and outsized expectations of the National Bee, Eliza's small pains and large joys are finely wrought and deeply felt.
Myla Goldberg is the author of the bestselling Bee Season, which was a New York Times Notable Book for 2000, winner of the Harold U. Ribalow Prize, winner of the Borders New Voices Prize, and a finalist for the Hemingway Foundation/PEN award, the NYPL Young Lions award, and the Barnes & Noble Discover award. It has been adapted to film and widely translated. Her essay collection, Time’s Magpie, explores all her favorite places in Prague, where she lived for a year in the early nineties. Her novel Wickett’s Remedy grew out of her fascination with the 1918 influenza epidemic and explores the nature of human ambition and the frailty of individual and collective memory. Her short stories have appeared in McSweeneys and Harpers. Her book reviews have appeared in the New York Times and Bookforum. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband, cartoonist Jason Little, and their daughter.