The stepmother’s tale: Take What You Need, by Idra Novey, reviewed

All writers studying their craft should be encouraged to try translation, thinks Idra Novey, the Pennsylvania-born novelist, poet and, si, translator. Working in another language confers the freedom to slip out of their own voices, developing their own tone in the process, she told one interviewer. On the strength of Novey’s third novel, Take What You Need, an adept tale about an estranged stepmother and daughter set in a fictional former steel town in Appalachia, all writers should heed her advice. In spare, affecting prose, she moves effortlessly between her two first-person narrators: sixty something Jean, and Leah, who was ten when Jean walked out on Leah’s dad, leaving a