The astonishing and imaginative debut novel about Helen Keller and the man she loved
What comes to mind when you think of Helen Keller? Is it the deaf-mute wild child at the water pump outside her Tuscumbia, Alabama, home portrayed in The Miracle Worker or the adult activist for the rights of the disabled and women, the socialist who vehemently opposed war? Rosie Sultan’s debut novel imagines an intimate part of Keller’s life she rarely spoke or wrote about: her one and only love affair.
Peter Fagan, a reporter from Boston, steps in as her secretary when her companion Annie Sullivan falls ill. The world this opens up for her is not the stuff of grade school biographies. Their affair meets with stern disapproval from Annie and from Helen’s mother, and when the lovers plot to elope, Helen is trapped between their expectations and her innermost desires. Sultan’s courageous novel insists on Helen’s right to desire, to human frailty—to be fully and completely alive.