The Strange Inheritance of Leah Fern
Rita Zoey Chin
October 12, 2022
The Strange Inheritance of Leah Fern (Melville House 2022) by Rita Zoey Chin is equal parts coming of age, epic travel tale, quest to find a mother who disappeared, and journey of personal discovery. The story begins as Leah Fern is planning to commit suicide. She hears someone banging on her door, which is strange since she has no friends. The visitor is a lawyer who shares a box that sends Leah on the road following clues that she hopes will lead to the mother who abandoned her when she was six, 15 years before. North to Canada and west to the ocean, Leah consumes copious amounts of candy as she surmounts obstacles, learns how to navigate with a piece of magnetite, and recounts her happy carnival life, before her mother, the magician, disappeared.
Rita Zoey Chin is the author of the widely praised memoir, Let the Tornado Come. She holds an MFA from the University of Maryland and is the recipient of a Katherine Anne Porter Prize, an Academy of American Poets Award, and a Bread Loaf scholarship. She has taught at Towson University and at Grub Street in Boston. Her work has appeared in Guernica, Tin House, and Marie Claire. Outside of writing, Zoey can often be found hiking with her dogs, making silver amulets in her metalsmithing studio, and concocting herbal brews in her kitchen. This is her first novel.