Melanie Finn’s third novel, The Underneath follows a journalist struggling with the constraints of motherhood. Along with her husband and two children, she rents a quaint Vermont farmhouse for the summer. The idea is to disconnect from their work-based lifestyle--that had her doggedly pursuing a genocidal leader of child soldiers known as General Christmas, even through pregnancy and the birth of their second child--in an effort to repair their shaky marriage.
The discovery of a mysterious crawlspace with unsettling writing etched into the wall in the rental, alongside some of the house's other curiosities and local sleuthing, leads the protagonist to believe that something terrible may have happened there. What follows is an intelligent and considerate exploration of violence--both personal and social--and whether violence may ever be justified.
Melanie Finn was born and raised in Kenya until age 11, when she moved with her family to Connecticut. After studying journalism at NYU, she worked as a freelance journalist and screenwriter for twenty years, living and working in six different countries. In 2004, her first novel, Away From You was published to international acclaim. The following year, she and her husband, the wildlife filmmaker Matt Aeberhard, moved to a remote region of Tanzania to make DisneyNature's beautiful, haunting flamingo epic, The Crimson Wing. During the filming, Melanie became the medic to the local Masai community and established The Natron Healthcare Project. Her second novel, The Gloaming, was a New York Times Notable Book of 2016, finalist for the Vermont Book Award and The Guardian's "Not the Booker" Prize. She now lives on a hill in Vermont with Matt, their twin daughters, three Tanzanian mutts and two very old horses.
For information about the author's influences and literary tastes, read the Book Jam's 3 Question Interview!
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"A musk of sex and menace soaks three narrative strands, expertly braided... Finn writes with a phrasing flare on par with Lauren Goff's." --Kirkus Reviews, starred