In Violet Kupersmith’s Novel, a Young Woman Disappears in Saigon

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By Alexis Schaitkin

By Violet Kupersmith

The day after I finished reading “Build Your House Around My Body,” my son pulled a ball of putty into a long rope and declared it a snake with two heads. A two-headed cobra appears throughout the novel, at once creature and symbol, binding together the novel’s characters and bridging its realistic and supernatural elements. Watching my son, I had the sense that Violet Kupersmith’s eerie and electric debut novel was spreading beyond the bounds of the page and seeping into my life. That is this novel’s power: It followed me into my days, refusing to release me.

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