Sarah Pemberton Strong

Novelist and Poet





“...a masterful exploration of longing and its consequences...
spellbinding insights into the complexity of desire.”

—Publishers Weekly



“A deliciously creepy and intense story.”
—Kirkus Reviews

“Part detective story, part mystery, Strong’s second novel (after Burning the Sea) delivers complex, entertaining characters and will attract readers who enjoy genre-blending, cutting-edge fiction.”
—Library Journal

“...a masterful exploration of longing and its consequences...spellbinding insights into the complexity of desire.”
—Publishers Weekly

“Laced with sex and menace, carried along by Strong’s hypnotic prose, The Fainting Room takes the genre of suburban drama and turns it inside out. Tom Perotta would be proud. So might David Lynch.”
—Brian Francis Slattery, author of Lost Everything

“Part noir, part romance, and part three-ring circus, The Fainting Room is filled with secrets: secret lives, secret desires, even secret skin. Like a high wire act, Strong keeps us on the edge of our seats, turning pages as quickly as we can and rooting for her three damaged, complicated, wonderful characters to succeed.”
—Diana Wagman, author of The Care and Feeding of Exotic Pets



Full Reviews

Publishers Weekly
“In a masterful exploration of longing and its consequences, Strong throws a teenager who craves attention, an architect in crisis, and a beautiful newlywed into an emotionally explosive triangle. Sixteen-year-old Ingrid is suspended from her boarding school and taken in by privileged Bostonian Ray Shepard and his troubled wife Evelyn. Evelyn grew up in a traveling circus with high-wire parents and married an abusive sword-swallower who later died. Ray offers the stability Evelyn has fantasized about all her life, but they’re both frustrated by the difficulty she has with adjusting to his uptight lifestyle. Along with the tattoos that cover most of her body, Evelyn hides her background from Ray’s friends and colleagues and has no job or friends of her own. Precocious, manipulative newcomer Ingrid soon has both Shepherds confiding in her. A thin mystery thread serves two entwined purposes in Strong’s second novel (after Burning the Sea): the unraveling of Evelyn’s secrets, and the evolution of Ingrid’s noir-inspired alter ego. The magic, however, doesn’t lie in the past, where the narrative veers dangerously close to melodrama, but in the present, with Strong’s spellbinding insights into the complexity of desire.”