August 2019                                     

University of Iowa Press


Set in the summer of 1979, when America was running out of gas, The Lines tells the story of a family of four—the mother, the father, the girl, and the boy—in the first months of a marital separation. Through alternating perspectives, we follow the family as they explore new territory, new living arrangements, and new complications. The mother returns to school. The father moves into an apartment. The girl squares off with her mother, while the boy struggles to make sense of the world.

The Lines explores the way we are all tied to one another, and how all experience offers the possibility of love and connection as much as loss and change.



“Varallo’s attention to the music in the spare, lyrical voices of his characters is enough to put this novel on your must-read list. What he manages to create in the story of divorce in an ordinary family is a tale about grief, alienation, and ultimately compassion itself. Riveting.”

Stephanie Powell Watts, author of No One is Coming to Save Us