Starred Kirkus Review: A Stone for Bread, “compelling” and “expertly done”

In this new novel from Herin (Absolution, 2007), enterprising graduate student Rachel Singer in 1997 decides to talk to disgraced North Carolina poet and former Duke University professor Henry Beam. She’s intent on learning what really happened 34 years earlier, when Beam published a group of poems that he claimed were written by a prisoner in the Nazi concentration camp Mauthausen in Austria. Critics jumped on the book, A Stone for Bread, accusing Beam of inventing the whole collection and effectively driving him into seclusion. With little coaxing from Rachel, Beam begins telling his story, recounted in skillfully handled jump cuts between past and present. He tells her about the year he spent in Paris, the love affair he had with a woman named Eugénie, and the intellectual alliance he made with a passionate French political agitator named Renard Marcotte. And gradually, he tells her about the man named René, the source of the Stone for Bread poems (and the focal point of his own point-of-view thread… See entire review.

Note: A Stone for Bread will be cited as a Kirkus’ Indie Books of the Month Selection in the March 15, 2016 Kirkus Reviews Magazine.