I'm envious that there are statues like this made of boys, but none of girls. Statues of girls are always doing something feminine or unfun, like lounging half-naked by a spring, gently dipping elegant fingertips in the water, or standing stone faced for Justice or Liberty or some other impossible human ideal. Why can't girls with muscular legs in leggings stand on a hilltop and release a bird?
I've been doing more running than reading lately. I won't sugarcoat it: marathon training is tiring and I've had trouble staying awake to read much of anything. That said, I tore through The Falconer. The book is named after one of Central Park's bronze sculptures (seen in photo above), installed in 1875 near West 72nd St. Though the sculpture has changed over the years (there has been significant vandalism and the original bronze falcon was sawed off and stolen in 1957), parts of the original sculpture still exist in the same location. Czapnik's main character, a middle-class, Italian-Jewish baller named Lucy Adler, loves the sculpture. Set in Manhattan in 1993, the book follows Lucy as she (1) grapples with the complexities of her female identity as an elite athlete and (2) experiences her first stomach-wrenching/heart-racing/hands-shaking crush (on a boy who is entirely unworthy of her attention). Even in post-run hunger/ exhaustion, I didn't want to leave Lucy's side.
The Falconer is yet another bildungsroman of sorts set in New York City in the nineties, but you haven't heard this story before. Czapnik's debut has everything: pointy elbows to the face during pick-up games on public courts, navel-gazing artsy types who paint with Pepto-Bismol to make a political statement, confusing attraction to a (very hot)(very asshole-y) boy who is also your best friend, and late nights in diners with french fries that taste like freezer burn. Both a love letter and a break up with New York City, The Falconer is a must-read for anyone who has ever realized that you might love home more when you're not actually living there.