The Report A Novel


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Graywolf Press


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1555975658

9781555975654

256 Pages

$15.00

CAD17.00

Request Desk Copy Request Exam Copy
London, 1943: Tube stations across London have been converted into bomb shelters. Night after night, while sirens wail in Bethnal Green, immigrants and East Enders alike sleep on the tracks and wait. But on March 3, as the crowd hurries down the staircase, something goes wrong, and 173 adult and children lose their lives in a deadly crush. When the devastated neighborhood demands an inquiry, the job falls to the young magistrate Laurence Dunne.  Among the many witnesses Dunne interviews are the policemen on duty that night, the devoted shelter warden, and two women whose fateful encounter on the stairs remains shrouded in mystery and confusion. He finds the truth at the center of the event to be elusive, even damaging. As Dunne struggles to complete his task without causing hurt, he makes some surprising choices. Several decades later, and encounter with a young documentary filmmaker forces him to revisit his decisions.  In this beautifully crafted novel, Jessica Francis Kane paints a vivid portrait of London at war. A moving account based on a nearly forgotten event, The Report is a timely and provocative commentary on the way all tragedies are remembered and endured.

REVIEWS

Praise for The Report

“Jessica Francis Kane's The Report is a stealthy, quiet page-turner that understands there is as much tension in reckoning a disaster as there is in the disaster itself. In precise and searching prose, The Report looks without flinching at moral obligation and family duty over seconds, and over years. It's a lovely book.”—Elizabeth McCracken, author of An Exact Replica of a Figment of My Imagination
 
"Elegantly written and suffused with insights into human motivation, The Report illuminates how we interpret and endure tragedy. This novel is engrossing both for the story it tells and the way it tells it. It is filled with small wonders and very hard to put down."—Elise Blackwell, author of An Unfinished Score
 
"The Report is a graceful and dignified look at a single event that quickly becomes something so much more expansive: a kaleidoscopic examination of crowds, of disasters, of reverberations and reckoning.  I was absolutely riveted."—Anthony Doerr, author of Memory Wall and The Shell Collector
 
"An absorbing, thought-provoking first novel about a terrible civilian tragedy during wartime, The Report manages the delicate literary feat of being both a probing historical inquiry into a disaster, and a moving, multi-faceted portrait of a community under extreme duress. Jessica Francis Kane's authorial control of her material is impressive; the book's moral complexities linger long after the book is finished. A memorable debut."—John Burnham Schwartz, author of The Commoner and Reservation Road
 
"I began reading this story hoping it would aim my judgment at some one person who had made the fatal mistake. But The Report cracks that hope and replaces it—as only the bravest novels can do—with a vivid exploration of the events themselves in all their disquieting tangles. This book shows us that the single sin for which judgment hopes is a lie. The truth is not one misstep but a horde of them, hidden in a tunnel that this novel brilliantly excavates."—Salvatore Scibona, author of The End
 
"[Kane] moves deftly among perspectives on the [Bethnal Green] catastrophe: We eavesdrop on war-battered townsfolk, the tardy policeman, the overburdened priest, the devastated shelter-chief who feels responsible. Kane's command of period detail is marvelous . . . A deft, vivid first novel."—Kirkus Reviews
 
"Kane skillfully reimagines the empathetic [Laurence] Dunne as he interprets the confessions and accusations of a community crushed by loss and guilt. . . . Meticulous historical detail and vivid descriptions of hunkered-down and rationed East Enders add a marvelous texture."—Publishers Weekly

Reviews from Goodreads

BACK

BOOK EXCERPTS

Read an Excerpt

Jessica Francis Kane is the author of the story collection Bending Heaven. Her stories have been broadcast on BBC radio and have appeared in a many publications, including Virginia Quarterly Review, McSweeney's, the Missouri Review, and Michigan Quarterly Review. Her essays and humor pieces have appeared in McSweeney's Internet Tendency and The Morning News.org, where she is a contributing writer. She lives in New York with her husband and their two children.

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BACK

ABOUT THE AUTHOR


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  • Jessica Francis Kane is the author of a collectionof stories, Bending Heaven. Her work has appeared in a many publications, including Virginia Quarterly Review, McSweeney's, and the Missouri Review. This is her first novel.
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