As Jennifer Savran Kelly’s debut novel, Endpapers, opens, essential character Daybreak Levit has stalled. She’s in her mid-20s, dissatisfied together with her artwork (she designs, prints and binds handmade books) and unable to make something new. She’s additionally feeling caught in her relationship with Lukas, whom Daybreak is fairly positive would love her extra if she have been a person. Daybreak has been exploring her personal gender and sexual identities since highschool, taking tentative steps to search out her manner, however she’s nonetheless doubting her instincts and herself. These days, she and Lukas have discovered consolation in “slipping again into the closet,” the place neither has to fret about feeling accepted. However neither of them is content material, both.
Whereas at work within the ebook conservation lab on the Metropolitan Museum of Artwork, Daybreak finds a torn-off paperback cowl bearing the title Flip Her About, which depicts a lady wanting right into a mirror and seeing a person’s face. On the again is a letter handwritten in German; the correspondents’ names (Gertrude and Marta) and Ich liebe dich (“I like you”) are the one phrases Daybreak can perceive. However this letter, apparently from the Forties or ’50s, sends Daybreak on a quest to be taught extra concerning the pulp novel, and about Gertrude and Marta.
Following Daybreak via the spring of 2003, Endpapers depicts a New York Metropolis nonetheless shrouded in post-9/11 gloom, evoking an uneasy temper and underlining Daybreak’s sense that even in early Twenty first-century New York, being totally different isn’t secure. Out at a bar one night time, Daybreak, Lukas and their pal Jae are harassed by two males, which results in a hate crime that Daybreak feels she incited.
Daybreak’s introspection is at instances painful; she’s younger, self-absorbed and susceptible to missteps together with her mates and associates. However because the story progresses, the thriller of Gertrude and Marta converges fantastically with the art work that Daybreak begins to conceive. Kelly is a bookbinder and ebook manufacturing editor, and the novel’s particulars of ebook and print restoration floor and add depth to Daybreak’s story.
Endpapers is a coming-of-age story about rising as an artist and studying to belief and construct relationships in a world that doesn’t wish to make room for you. Regardless of its early 2000s setting, Endpapers nonetheless feels well timed, main us to replicate on how far we’ve are available in accepting variations and the way far we nonetheless should go.