In her second novel, the December 2017 Indy Pick Strangers in Budapest, Jessica Keener delves underneath the surface of the architecturally glittering city of Budapest where the characters are presented with inhabitants who live with the scars inflicted by Communism and the Nazi occupation. A young American family, Annie and Will with a newly adopted child, Leo, moves to Budapest (where the author lived herself), to pursue one of those irresistible business opportunities that popped up after the Communist era ends. In what Library Journal called “a slow burn of an international psychological thriller,” Annie is led into that city’s past as well as her own.
The author of the national bestseller, Night Swim, Keener grew up in the greater Boston area and devoted the early part of her writing career to short stories. One of them, Recovery, informed by the author’s battle with a life-threatening illness right after she graduated from high school, won a Redbook magazine prize and became part of the award-winning collection, Women In Bed.
The recipient of a Massachusetts Cultural Council Grant for fiction, Keener was listed by the editors of the Pushcart Prize under “outstanding writers.” She has been published in literary magazines and on-line sites such as The Southeast Review, Chariton Review, Northwest Corridor, Night Train, Eclectica, Wilderness House Literary Review, Connotation Press,The Nervous Breakdown, and Huffington Post. In the 1990s and 2000s for the Boston Globe Magazine, Poets & Writers, O, The Oprah Magazine, Inspired House, Coastal Living and Design New England.