What's the Name of That Book??? discussion

The Rise & Fall of Great Powers
This topic is about The Rise & Fall of Great Powers
SOLVED: Adult Fiction > SOLVED. Recent novel by new author, a young girl/woman protagonist, non-linear narrative and a twist ending. Spoilers ahead. [s]

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message 1: by Gavin (new)

Gavin Woodworth | 2 comments This novel was written 3 or 4 years ago. I think when I read it it had only recently come out in paperback. It was written by a new author. If not their first novel, I think they had only written 1 or 2 beforehand. I also think that the author is American and male.

The novel centres around a young girl/woman, who may have been called Sarah, although I'm not confident about this.

In the present day she works in a small bookshop and seems to lead quite an uneventful existence, but the majority of the narrative flashes back to when she was a young girl and student.

As a young girl, she lead a peripatetic existence. Her father features quite prominently in the plot, but seems unable or unwilling to properly care for his daughter, and she finds herself living with other people,

There is a recurring character with a distinctive name (something like Xander, although this may be wrong), who seems important to the main character, and who she looks up to, but he is quite mysterious and rarely sticks around for long.

There is also a section where she is a student who is sharing a flat, but I can't remember much about this part.


In the penultimate chapter, she finally tracks down the location of someone from her past who she has been looking for (possibly one of the students). However, when she goes there she finds Xander (or whatever his name was), who has stolen this other person's identity (I think the actual person must have died).

Xander seems to have been expecting her, and reveals that he has been bankrolling her entire life. He asks her something like 'Didn't you wonder where the money was coming from?'.

In the final chapter we are back in bookshop in the present day. She now seems to be content that at least she has resolved the issues of her past and can move on with life on her own terms, even though it is less exciting than what went before.

message 2: by Andria (last edited May 24, 2018 03:02PM) (new)

Andria (airdna) | 2502 comments Mod
I think it may be The Rise & Fall of Great Powers.

The first sentence of one of the reviews is: "As a child, Tooly Zylberberg led a peripatetic existence."

(and her mother's name is Sarah, I think)

message 3: by Gavin (new)

Gavin Woodworth | 2 comments That's it!

Many thanks. I found it frustrating that I couldn't remember more detail, as I really enjoyed the book.

message 4: by Andria (new)

Andria (airdna) | 2502 comments Mod
You're welcome. It sounds really interesting, I'm going to check it out too!

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