The year is 1963, and Bronwen is a promising summer intern under the care of Felix, the ultimate absent-minded chemistry professor. Bronwen is excited to spend her summer days in the lab and her summer nights with her dreamy grad student boyfriend, Eric. However, the more Bronwen thinks about it, the less dreamy she finds Eric. In fact, she hates how he belittles her, and her work. After all, her experiments are yielding very promising results—right?
Her strained and distant relationship with both of her parents offers little comfort, and she has no friends in the city to speak of, so Bronwen chooses to throw herself into her work as her one form of solace. The Girl Pretending to Read Rilke is a slow paced, slice-of-life novel about a young woman trying to decide what exactly she wants out of life and the people around her in the middle of a changing world.
This novel is very much like a summer afternoon: it consists primarily of Bronwen’s own thoughts and philosophies as she is working in the lab, out on a date, or alone in a room full of people. She is a very relatable protagonist, doubting herself one moment but then rallying self-confidence to get through the day. The Girl Pretending to Read Rilke would be ideal read for a quiet introspective evening.
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