Eighties New York springs to gritty, vibrant life in this piercingly romantic and compulsively readable coming-of-age novel. A beautiful, sad, funny, altogether bewitching debut
Francesca "Chess" Varani is an ultra-bright, sassy, but vulnerable Barnard freshwoman from a blue-collar background in the vibrantly gritty New York City of the mid-eighties. She strikes up a volatile and somewhat toxic friendship with drama-queen classmate Kendra Marr-Löwenstein, and falls into the bewitching orbit of her Salingeresque, high-toned family. Upon graduation, she moves into the Marr-Löwenstein house in the West Village as a secretary/girl-of-all-work to the soignèe literary intellectual Clarice Marr (think Susan Sontag but blondly coiffed and dressed in Chanel) and receives the sentimental education and emotional roughing up New York bestows on all of its new arrivals—including a love affair with Clarice's glamorously damaged son, Jerry.The story is related by Chess in sadder but wiser fashion from the distance of a financially beset 2008 and the depths of a crap job taken of necessity, tinged with the poignancy of time and choices made and not made.
About the Author
B. G. FIRMANI is a graduate of Barnard and Brown. Her short fiction has been published in Bomb, Kenyon Review, and Bellevue Literary Review. She is the recipient of a New York Foundation for the Arts fellowship and has been a resident at the MacDowell Colony and Yaddo. She lives in New York City, has a day job, and writes on the weekends.
“Time’s a Thief is a terrific coming-of-age novel: B.G. Firmani perfectly captures the innocent longing and more complicated striving of a young person on the cusp of her adulthood. This bittersweet, funny, and bighearted book is also a beautiful, precise elegy to a wilder, more alive New York City where anything seemed possible.” — Dana Spiotta, author of Stone Arabia and Eat the Document
“B.G. Firmani's witty, intimate, and knowing voice is captivating, and will keep readers up way past their bedtime, as it did me, just to stay under its spell. Time's a Thief tells the ageless story of a young woman who comes to New York City to be schooled, awakened, emotionally bruised, and heartbroken, until she grows wise enough to put the shambles of her life back together. It's a pleasure to accompany this heroine on her journey.” — Lynne Sharon Schwartz, author of Rough Strife and Disturbances in the Field
"Firmani really captures the grit and promise of 1980s New York, with too many cigarettes and dingy punk shows, when it was both unusual and magical for kids to come...for school... A leisurely exploration of character and place that, when you connect to Chess, packs a wallop." —Booklist
“Immediately absorbing...A compelling story of youthful infatuation, love, and disillusionment.” —Library Journal
“Chess is an engaging character... funny and cool... Like last year’s Sweetbitter by Stephanie Danler, it is the coming-of-age of a young woman under the influence of unwholesome Manhattan sophisticates; like the previous year’s City on Fire by Garth Risk Hallberg, it is a nostalgic paean to the city’s recent past.” —Kirkus Reviews