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Richard Russo has celebrated Monica Wood's fiction as "thoroughly captivating warm and wise and beautifully written," and Andre Dubus III praised it as "luminous and graceful--entertaining yet transcendent." Any Bitter Thing, Wood's brilliant new novel, is her breakout book, a timely, gripping, and compassionate tale of family, faith, and deeply hidden truths. One of its greatest strengths is its continuous ability to defy expectations. It's not what you think. It is worse. Lizzy Mitchell was raised from the age of two by her uncle, a Catholic priest. When she was nine, he was falsely accused of improprieties with her and dismissed from his church, and she was sent away to boarding school. Now thirty years old and in a failing marriage, she is nearly killed in a traffic accident. What she discovers when she sets out to find the truths surrounding the accidentand about the accusations that led to her uncle's deathdoes more than change her life. With deft insight into the snares of the human heart, Monica Wood has written an intimate and emotionally expansive novel full of understanding and hope.
Lizzy is 30 years old when she almost dies from getting hit by a car. As she recovers, she revisits her childhood being brought up by a priest falsely accused of molestation.
Acclaimed novelist Monica Wood again turns her keen eye and wry humor to small town Maine. Nine interrelated stories create a layered and complex portrait of a community in the midst of crisis as a strike wears on at the paper mill, and the residents of Abbott Falls feel the reverberations of the towns shifting fortune. Ernie, just days shy of retirement when the strike hits, finds new purpose in building an ark in the backyard. Written with a quiet grace and lyrical power, Ernies Ark is a moving work by a writer who understands the vagaries and hopes of the human heart.
The incandescent story of a 104-year-old woman and the sweet, strange young boy assigned to help her around the house -- a friendship that touches each member of the boy's unmoored family For years, guitarist Quinn Porter has been on the road, chasing gig after gig, largely absent to his twice-ex-wife Belle and their odd, Guinness records-obsessed son. When the boy dies suddenly, Quinn seeks forgiveness for his paternal shortcomings by completing the requirements for his son's unfinished Boy Scout badge. For seven Saturdays, Quinn does yard work for Ona Vitkus, the wily 104-year-old Lithuanian immigrant the boy had visited weekly. Quinn soon discovers that the boy had talked Ona into gunning for the world record for Oldest Licensed Driver -- and that's the least of her secrets. Despite himself, Quinn picks up where the boy left off, forging a friendship with Ona that allows him to know the son he never understood, a boy who was always listening, always learning. The One-in-a-Million Boy is a richly layered novel of hearts broken seemingly beyond repair and then bound by a stunning act of human devotion.
Connie has trouble with time. She always has to stop and think a minute: How old is she now? . . . Faith always seems to know, though her life is the same as Connie's: back and forth to theater towns all over. The same dingy food, the same noisy sidewalks, the same cramped suites in the same hotels. . . Sometimes they go to school, sometimes not, though they always have books to read: big packets of books that Armand sends to them in every city. Armand is their parents' lawyer, the only person they know who likes children. . . .Faith and Connie endured the same childhood as daughters of egocentric, semi-famous actors who can scarcely take care of themselves. But the two sisters could not be more different. Connie learned to beg for attention, clamor for approval, and fill the silence with words. Faith turned inward, shrinking from the tender emotions that make up an ordinary life. Despite their differences, the sisters came to rely on each other exclusively. But lately, after years of quiet connection, Faith and Connie seem to have lost the ties that once held them close. Faith has a home and two growing sons, but is still unable to fathom unconditional love. Connie, a flight attendant, is always searching, ever-expecting to find her true place in life at the end of each long flight. But a series of shocking, revelatory events will bring the sisters back to each other--and forever alter how they define love, fulfillment, and most importantly, family.From the Trade Paperback edition.
1963, Mexico, Maine. The Wood family is much like its close, Catholic, immigrant neighbors, all dependent on a father's wages from the Oxford Paper Company. Until the sudden death of Dad, when Mum and the four closely connected Wood girls are set adrift. Funny and to-the-bone moving, When We Were the Kennedys is the story of how this family saves itself, at first by depending on Father Bob, Mum's youngest brother, a charismatic Catholic priest who feels his new responsibilities deeply. And then, as the nation is shocked by the loss of its handsome Catholic president, the televised grace of Jackie Kennedy--she too a Catholic widow with young children--galvanizes Mum to set off on an unprecedented family road trip to Washington, D.C., to do some rescuing of her own. An indelible story of how family and nation, each shocked by the unimaginable, exchange one identity for another. "Monica Wood has written a gorgeous, gripping memoir. I don't know that I've ever pulled so hard for a family."--Michael Paterniti, author of Driving Mr. Albert