No Two Persons

No Two Persons by Erica Bauermeister (House Lessons: Renovating a Life; The Scent Keeper; The Lost Art of Mixing), a poignant homage to the magic of books and storytelling, links unrelated characters' stories with a common thread: a debut novel entitled Theo. Alice is a young writer, hesitant to release her deeply personal novel, Theo, into the world. "We're all caretakers of the stories, Alice," her mentor tells her. "Writers are just the lucky ones that get to know them first." No Two Persons follows Theo over nine years, into the lives touched by the story, often in surprising ways.

Among the readers are a literary agent's assistant, rocking her newborn while poring over submissions; a bright high school student, concealing her homelessness; a grieving widower, isolating in a ghost town; and a former film star, honing his talent for performing audiobooks. Bauermeister tells the stories of these distinctive, sympathetic characters in individual chapters, each revealing more about Theo. Reading No Two Persons can foster melancholy for the protagonists when their chapters end, but clues suggest that as they "wander," as Theo does, they'll find happiness. One character wonders, "Can we never truly connect?" and concludes: "All that matters is that we try." Indeed, serendipitous, heartwarming coincidences eventually do connect some of these thoughtful characters. No Two Persons is a meticulously crafted novel sure to transport readers, as books do, to "places you didn't know you needed to go." --Cheryl McKeon, Book House of Stuyvesant Plaza, Albany, N.Y.

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