A haunting novel about the lasting effects of childhood trauma and the resulting choices we make for our children.
After growing up in an austere spiritual compound, two teenagers, Simrin and Arjun, escape and go their separate ways. Years later, Simrin receives an email from Arjun. As they reconnect, Simrin learns that he has become the charismatic leader of Meadowlark, a commune in the Nevada desert that allows children to discover their “gifts.”
In spite of their fractured relationship, Simrin, a photojournalist, agrees to visit Meadowlark to document its story. She arrives at the commune with her five-year-old daughter in tow and soon realizes there is something disturbing about Arjun’s beliefs concerning children and their unusual abilities. When she discovers that the commune is in the midst of a criminal investigation, her unease grows deeper still.
As tensions with police heighten, Arjun’s wife begins to make plans of her own, fearing the exposure the investigation might bring for her and her children. Both mothers find themselves caught in a desperate situation, and as the conflict escalates, everyone involved must make painful—and potentially tragic—choices that could change their worlds forever.
Gripping and beautifully crafted, Meadowlark explores the power and danger of being extraordinary and what it means to see and be seen.
Praise for Meadowlark
I picked up this riveting novel one morning, and by the time I looked, gasping at the explosive, inevitable ending, it was late afternoon. Call in sick, get a babysitter, clear the day because once you pick up Meadowlark you won't be able to put it down until the very last, astonishing page.
—Ayelet Waldman, author of Love and Treasure
Meadowlawk is a riveting, vividly rendered journey into the haunted past and uncertain future that await a mother and daughter in the Nevada desert. Melanie Abrams is a writer of remarkable power and insight, and in these pages, she is at the top of her game.
—Anthony Marra, author of A Constellation of Vital Phenomena
This intense, powerful novel heats like a crucible over misunderstandings inside and outside a contemporary West Coast cult. The hotter the book gets, the richer the questions it raises about American utopianism, parenting, and power, and how far people will go for their ideals. Meadowlark is a superbly gripping and insightful read.
—Maria Hummel, author of Still Lives
Melanie Abrams' Meadowlark seduces you into the dark, secretive world of cults and how those who have been touched by them are never truly free. Her textured prose and detailed descriptions of the rituals and rivalries behind the compound gates are not only vividly imagined, but completely transporting. Simrin and Arjun, with their complexities and weaknesses are frighteningly believable and reeled me in from the moment they appeared on the page. A gorgeous and gripping read.
—Hallie Rubenhold, author of The Five: The Untold Lives of the Women Killed by Jack the Ripper
A fascinating novel that illuminates the afterlife of America’s 1970’s counterculture and challenges the power and danger of alternative communities.
—Jess Row, author of Your Face in Mine