Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Other Sellers on Amazon
+ $3.99 shipping
+ $3.99 shipping
+ $3.99 shipping
Still Life with Tornado Hardcover – October 11, 2016
|New from||Used from|
The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
From School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up—At 16, Sarah is facing what she calls an "existential crisis," questioning whether her life has meaning or value, an event fueled by an unfair art show, a cruel teacher, a toxic and abusive family, a missing brother, and the loss of her ability to draw. Sarah wanders through the streets of Philadelphia and meets her future self at age 23 and 40 as well as her 10-year-old self. With the help of these past and future selves, she uncovers hidden memories of the vacation leading up to her brother leaving and the lies and violence that have driven her family dynamics for years. This beautifully written, often surreal narrative will make readers wonder if Sarah is schizophrenic, if she has post-traumatic stress disorder, or if she just needs to take a break from the realities of her life. Two weeks before Sarah's crisis, her friend Carmen drew a tornado and told Sarah that it was not a sketch of a tornado but of everything the tornado contained. This drawing becomes an analogy for all that Sarah is hiding in the emotional tornado of her life, the secrets she has hidden from herself and the world. King's brilliance, artistry, and originality as an author shine through in this thought-provoking work. Sarah's strength, fragility, and ability to survive resonate throughout. VERDICT This is a complex book that will not appeal to all readers, but for others it will be an unforgettable experience.—Janet Hilbun, University of North Texas, Denton
“Moving, unapologetically strange, skillfully constructed…. Read this book, whatever your age. You may find it’s the exact shape and size of the hole in your heart.”—The New York Times
"Fans of Perks of Being a Wallflower will love this powerful new release from award-winning A.S. King."—Buzzfeed
“Surreal and thought-provoking.”—People Magazine
“You’ll find Still Life’s exploration of an artist’s inner strength particularly enriching.”—Teen Vogue
A 2016 New York Times Notable Children's Book
A News & Observer Best Book of 2016
A Publishers Weekly Best Book of 2016
A School Library Journal Best Book of 2016
A Booklist Best Book of 2016
Booklist Top of the List 2016
A Shelf Awareness Best Book of 2016
A BookPage Best Teen Book of 2016
A Bustle Top 30 YA Book of 2016
A Nerdy Book Club Best YA of 2016
A Bank Street College Best Children's Book of the Year
NAIBA Young Adult Book of the Year Award Winner 2017
★ "King’s brilliance, artistry, and originality as an author shine through in this thought-provoking work. [...] An unforgettable experience."—SLJ, starred review
★ ”A deeply moving, frank, and compassionate exploration of trauma and resilience, filled to the brim with incisive, grounded wisdom.” —Booklist, starred review
★ ”The presentation of the surreal as real, the deeply thoughtful questions she poses, the way she empowers her teenage characters to change the trajectory of their lives—King writes with the confidence of a tightrope walker working without a net.”—Publishers Weekly, starred review
★ "Lack of original ideas is not something found in work by A.S. King, who blurs reality, truth, violence, emotion, creativity, and art in a show of respect for YA readers."—Horn Book Magazine, starred review
★ "Books about abusive families generally follow the problem-novel script of recognition, admission, and solution; in her inimitable style, King takes a totally different tack, exploring (through interpolated sections from Sarah’s mother as well as Sarah’s narration) the way abuse warps and gnarls a family over time into a thorny growth of anger and denial that becomes a daily norm, even for members who aren’t direct victims.... Readers won’t have to live with abuse firsthand to recognize the taut, invisible coils of family dysfunction and the difficulty of gaining perspective on it, let alone breaking free."—BCCB, starred review
★"King's ingeniously crafted, deeply engaging Still Life with Tornado will have readers by the collar the whole time."—Shelf Awareness, starred review
"King understands and writes teen anxieties like no other, resulting in difficult, resonant, compelling characters and stories."—Kirkus
"A.S. King is known for crafting deeply sympathetic portraits of teenagers in crisis, and Still Life with Tornado is no exception."—BookPage
"A.S. King has always brought her unique touch to her YA novels, but she may have outdone even herself in Still Life with Tornado."—Bustle
“The payoff is great. King’s surreal elements are balanced as always by the lucidity of her prose, and her generous, unflagging faith in her readers’ ability to keep up with her mental fireworks results yet again in a book that’s truly singular.”—B&N Teen, “Best YA Books of 2016”
"Though touched with magical realism, this is otherwise a wholly contemporary story about a girl who needs to come to terms with her family’s toxic and painful history before she can start dreaming of the future."—Bookish: "Fall 2016’s Unputdownable Contemporary Young Adult Books."
Praise for Glory O’Brien’s History of the Future (2014)
"Maybe there are writers more adept than King at capturing the outrageous and outraged voice of teenagers, but it’s difficult to think of one.” —The New York Times
Praise for Reality Boy (2013)
“Timely, incisive, compassionate. All of A.S. King’s novels are must-reads.” —Matthew Quick, New York Times bestselling author of The Silver Linings Playbook and Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock
Browse award-winning titles. See more
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
The way that she writes about her teenage characters is so vivid and true. It gives teenage life a realistic perspective which is hard to capture. We follow our MC 16y.o. Sarah as she tells her story in a stream of consciousness style, exploring her past, what is means to be present, and glimpses to her future. We unsurface secrets with her, face harsh realities about domestic abuse, and we find out what a purpose in life means and how we find it.
Basically, this book is like a tornado itself. We are introduced to so many threads, but they all interrelate, make sense and come together beautifully as a story. A.S. King keeps her surrealist vibe and fresh voice in her latest book and I read the whole thing so incredibly fast. The whole way though I wanted to stop and savor it, but it was just too good. So many times I read a line or a thought that resonated with me so deeply. I am in love with how this book made me feel and what it is trying to say.
Excellent, excellent story.
Still Life with Tornado is the eighth novel by American author, A.S. King. Sixteen-year-old Sarah has always loved art, and she’s good at it. But something happened at school, and now she can’t draw at all. And nothing ever happens there anyway, everything is always the same, nothing new or original, so she begins to skip classes. It eventually becomes apparent than an act of theft and wilful vandalism has set in motion an existential crisis.
As a truant Sarah wanders the streets of Philadelphia, she encounters other versions of herself: aged ten, then aged twenty-three and later, forty. Conversations with her other selves lead her to recall the events of the family’s Mexican vacation six years earlier, the vacation that triggered her brother Bruce’s disappearance. Sarah benefits from the clear, innocent perspective of her 10 year old self, the cynicism of her 23 year old self and the wisdom of her 40 year old self.
King employs three distinct narratives: sixteen year old Sarah relates present-day events, while ten year old Sarah’s account of the Mexican vacation slowly reveals the cause of Bruce’s exile. Helen’s view of her marriage to Chet completes the picture of a family destined for crisis. There’s a bit of magical reality going on (the four Sarahs) but it’s deftly done and not so weird as to be completely bizarre. Watching her ten year old self in the gallery: “I see her looking around for the security guard. I remember being her and thinking ‘just one touch’ as if touching the same thing Picasso touched would give her the talent to become him”.
What at first seems to be a book about teen angst goes much deeper: psychological abuse, domestic violence, sexual predators, bullying, homelessness, friendship and loyalty also feature. King skilfully builds her tale, gradually revealing the true situation as her protagonist’s appreciation of the facts develops. Eventually Sarah sees how it really is between her parents: “’Good,’ they say in unison. And then they look annoyed that they said something in unison. Then they fake smile at each other, but I’m starting to understand that smiling is really just another way of baring one’s teeth”.
This is a novel that is original and different: it’s clever and thought-provoking, and is bound to have wider appeal than the Young Adult genre in which it sits. Recommended.