Elsie doesn’t have to worry about money. What she does have to worry about, however, is her aimless existence with a borderline-abusive boyfriend and a job at the local paper working on obituaries. When she decides to travel to Sri Lanka to escape her predictable life, she finds herself discovering a new way of living. Upon returning after a meditative retreat, she moves to New York and becomes engaged to a man who is everything she is not—reliable, stable, and sure of himself. But she rebels against this potentially suffocating future and returns again to Sri Lanka, staying with a young woman desperate to practice her English. Tennant-Moore’s descriptions of life in Sri Lanka are rich with the rapturous detail caught by a visitor’s eye. As Elsie grapples with her issues, particularly around sex and intimacy, she finds that life in a country where she is both free to be herself and more uncertain of her place than ever somehow allows her to tackle her problems from a new perspective. The result is sharp, fresh, and breathtakingly honest.

— Bridget Thoreson, January 1, 2016