The Scent of Pine: A Novel

  • From the Publisher
January 6, 2014

Though Lena is only thir­ty-eight, she finds her­self in the grip of a midlife cri­sis. She feels out of place in her adop­tive coun­try, her career has stalled, and her mar­riage has tum­bled into a spi­ral of apa­thy and dis­trust — it seems impos­si­ble she will ever find hap­pi­ness again. But then she meets Ben, a failed artist turned reluc­tant aca­d­e­m­ic, who is just as lost as she is. They strike up a pre­car­i­ous friend­ship and soon sur­prise them­selves by embark­ing on an impul­sive week­end adventure.

On the dri­ve to Ben’s remote cab­in in Maine, Lena begins to open up, for the first time in her life, about the tumul­tuous sum­mer she spent as a coun­selor in a Sovi­et children’s camp twen­ty years ear­li­er, when she was just dis­cov­er­ing romance and her own sex­u­al­i­ty. At a time when Rus­sia itself was in tur­moil, the once-placid world of the camp was grow­ing equal­ly unset­tled, with unex­plained dis­ap­pear­ances and mys­te­ri­ous goings-on among the staff; Lena and her best friend are haunt­ed by what they wit­nessed, or failed to wit­ness, and by the fall­out from those youth­ful rela­tion­ships. It was a time of intense emo­tions, con­fu­sion, and pas­sions, and ulti­mate­ly very lit­tle turned out to be exact­ly as it seemed.

As Lena reveals to Ben secrets she has long kept hid­den, the lovers begin to dis­cov­er togeth­er not only the strik­ing truths buried in her past, but also more imme­di­ate lessons about the urgency of this short, stolen time they have together.

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