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"An exuberant, wise, and darkly funny novel from an essential new voice in fiction." --Cynthia D'Aprix Sweeney, author of The Nest This astonishing first novel tells the story of a married couple - both experts in language and communication - who nevertheless cannot seem to communicate with each other.Ivan is a tightly wound philosophy professor whose reverence for logic and order governs not only his academic interests, but also his closest relationships. His wife, Prue, is quite the opposite: a pioneer in the emerging field of biolinguistics, she is young and beautiful, full of life and feeling. Thus far, they have managed to weather their differences. But lately, an odd distance has settled in between them. Might it have something to do with the arrival of the college's dashing but insufferable new writer-in-residence, whose novel Prue always seems to be reading?Into this delicate moment barrels Ivan's unstable father-in-law, Frank, in town to hear Prue deliver a lecture on birdsong that is set to cement her tenure application.



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