At Briarwood School for Girls: A Novel

At Briarwood School for Girls: A Novel

by Michael Knight


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It’s 1994 and Lenore Littlefield is a junior at Briarwood School for Girls. She plays basketball. She hates her roommate. History is her favorite subject. She has told no one that she’s pregnant. Everything, in other words, is under control.

Meanwhile, Disney has announced plans to build a new theme park just up the road, a “Technicolor simulacrum of American History” right in the middle of one of the most history-rich regions of the country. If successful, the development will forever alter the character of Prince William County, VA, and have unforeseeable consequences for the school.

When the threat of the theme park begins to intrude on the lives of the faculty and students at Briarwood, secrets will be revealed and unexpected alliances will form. Lenore must decide whom she can trust—will it be a middle-aged history teacher struggling to find purpose in his humdrum life? A lonely basketball coach tasked with directing the school play? A reclusive playwright still grappling with her own Briarwood legacy? Or a teenage ghost equally adept at communicating with the living via telephone or Ouija board?

Following a cast of memorable characters as they reckon with questions about fate, history, and the possibility of happiness, At Briarwood School for Girls is a stunning and inventive new work from a master storyteller.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780802128423
Publisher: Grove/Atlantic, Inc.
Publication date: 04/02/2019
Pages: 304
Product dimensions: 5.80(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

MICHAEL KNIGHT is the author of the novels The Typist and Divining Rod; the short story collections Eveningland, Goodnight Nobody and Dogfight and Other Stories; and the novella The Holiday Season. He teaches creative writing at the University of Tennessee and lives in Knoxville with his family.

Read an Excerpt

“Do you believe in ghosts, Mr. Bishop?”

She could feel him staring at her, wondering about her. The thing about Mr. Bishop was, he wanted to teach you something. That wasn’t always the case. Some teachers wanted to entertain or impress you, some wanted you to like them, some just wanted you to behave for an hour and move along. But Mr. Bishop believed what he said in class. He was almost too earnest. Even now, he was giving her question more consideration that it deserved.

“I believe a place can be haunted,” he said, “if that’s what you mean. By the past or history or whatever. And people, too. People can be haunted. But if you mean actual spirits from the other side, then no, I don’t guess I do.”

Lenore wiggled her toes inside her shoes.

“Why do you ask?” he said.

“Oh, you know the stories about Thornton Hall.”

Mr. Bishop smiled. “Does this mean you’ve had a run in with Elizabeth Archer?”

“I’m pregnant,” Lenore said.

She hadn’t meant to tell him. She felt as startled by her revelation as Mr. Bishop looked and she had the strange sensation the she might suddenly float up off the ground, her heels lifting out of the snow and then her toes and she imagined gazing down on Mr. Bishop and his dog, a hovering ghost of herself.

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