Isabella Biedenharn
August 28, 2015 AT 06:51 PM EDT

Infinite Home

Current Status
In Season
Kathleen Alcott
Riverhead Books

We gave it an A-

If the Island of Misfit Toys were recast as a sleepy Brooklyn apartment building, it might look a bit like Alcott’s Infinite Home, where a collection of vividly drawn characters seem to breathe right out of the pages. There’s Edith, the widowed landlady who’s slipping into dementia; Adeleine, a charming agoraphobe; Edward, a failed comedian; Thomas, an artist with stroke-induced paralysis. And then there’s Paulie, the magnetic heart of the novel, a sweet, cheerful young man afflicted with a genetic disorder called Williams syndrome. When Edith’s calculating son, Owen (disappointingly flat compared with the rest), tries to take over and threatens eviction, the tenants must figure out how to save their home. A–

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