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Publisher's Summary

“A lush depiction of privilege and power, sex and stability...following three women in São Paulo...It Is Wood, It Is Stone is an elegant arrival of a new talent.” (Elle) 

Named One of the Best Books of the Year by Good Housekeeping Marie Claire Publishers Weekly

With sharp, gorgeous prose, It Is Wood, It Is Stone takes place over the course of a year in São Paulo, Brazil, in which two women’s lives intersect.

Linda, an anxious and restless American, has moved to São Paulo, with her husband, Dennis, who has accepted a yearlong professorship. As Dennis submerges himself in his work, Linda finds herself unmoored and adrift, feeling increasingly disassociated from her own body. Linda’s unwavering and skilled maid, Marta, has more claim to Linda’s home than Linda can fathom. Marta, who is struggling to make sense of complicated history and its racial tensions, is exasperated by Linda’s instability. One day, Linda leaves home with a charismatic and beguiling artist, whom she joins on a fervent adventure that causes reverberations felt by everyone, and ultimately binds Marta and Linda in a profoundly human, and tender, way. 

An exquisite debut novel by young Brazilian-American author Gabriella Burnham, It Is Wood, It Is Stone is about women whose romantic and subversive entanglements reflect on class and colorism, sexuality, and complex, divisive histories.

©2020 Gabriella Burnham (P)2020 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

It Is Wood, It Is Stone is a fever dream of a book; absolutely captivating and wonderfully destabilizing. I could not put it down. It is about uprootedness, class and color, and sex. It is about women on the verge - of collapse, of escape, of self-knowledge - failing and flailing and propping one another up. It is a book about the limits of propriety and the boundlessness of grace. Burnham is a writer of such remarkable insight, it’s impossible to believe this is her debut.” (Justin Torres, author of We the Animals)

“An absorbing and remarkably assured debut, It Is Wood, It Is Stone marries taut, cinematic suspense with intimate, textured domestic realism. Hits a major refresh button on the genre of psychological thriller and gives us something immensely satisfying and new.” (Jordy Rosenberg, author of Confessions of the Fox

What listeners say about It Is Wood, It Is Stone

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 07-08-20

Warm, sweet tropics

I felt transported back to the tropics—sensual, a bit wild, and poignant. I loved the reader and highly recommend this book along with a rum punch!

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  • Jane Bourette
  • 30-12-20

Sweet story

Really enjoyed this book. Well written and flowed. Highly recommend. Putting on my recommendation list

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Julie A. Twomey
  • 28-10-20

Strong start - disappointing ending

The story was intriguing at the beginning but I found myself getting bored and I struggled to finish.

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Wendy L. Murrell
  • 12-08-20

Underwhelmed

No real story line that gets you engaged. The writer has a wonderful skill of describing scenes but lacks a story.

The narrators voice just didn’t do it for me, it just seemed dull.