A Hundred Small Lessons
by Ashley Hay


Overview - From the author of the highly acclaimed The Railwayman's Wife , called a "literary and literate gem" by Psychology Today , comes an emotionally resonant and profound new novel of two families, interconnected through the house that bears witness to their lives.  Read more...

 
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More About A Hundred Small Lessons by Ashley Hay
 
 
 
Overview
From the author of the highly acclaimed The Railwayman's Wife, called a "literary and literate gem" by Psychology Today, comes an emotionally resonant and profound new novel of two families, interconnected through the house that bears witness to their lives.

When Elsie Gormley leaves the Brisbane house in which she has lived for more than sixty years, Lucy Kiss and her family move in, eager to establish their new life. As they settle in, Lucy and her husband Ben struggle to navigate their transformation from adventurous lovers to new parents, taking comfort in memories of their vibrant past as they begin to unearth who their future selves might be. But the house has secrets of its own, and the rooms seem to share recollections of Elsie's life with Lucy.

In her nearby nursing home, Elsie traces the span of her life--the moments she can't bear to let go and the places to which she dreams of returning. Her beloved former house is at the heart of her memories of marriage, motherhood, love, and death, and the boundary between present and past becomes increasingly porous for both her and Lucy.

Over the course of one hot Brisbane summer, two families' stories intersect in sudden and unexpected ways. Through the richly intertwined narratives of two ordinary, extraordinary women, Ashley Hay uses her "lyrical prose, poetic dialogue, and stunning imagery" (RT magazine) to weave an intricate, bighearted story of what it is to be human.

 
Details
  • ISBN-13: 9781501165139
  • ISBN-10: 1501165135
  • Publisher: Atria Books
  • Publish Date: November 2017
  • Page Count: 304
  • Dimensions: 9 x 6.2 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.01 pounds


Related Categories

Books > Fiction > Literary
Books > Fiction > Family Life - General
Books > Fiction > Women

 
BookPage Reviews

This house is a home

BookPage Top Pick in Fiction, December 2017

The third novel by Australian author Ashley Hay is an engrossing and insightful portrait of two women living in Brisbane, Australia: Elsie, now in her 90s, a widow of 40 years and recently relocated to an assisted living facility by her children; and Lucy, a 30-something mother of a 2-year-old and wife to Ben, a journalist.

Elsie has just sold her home of 60 years to Lucy’s young family. Throughout the novel, Hay moves back and forth through Elsie’s years, giving the reader introspective looks into her life: from her days as a vibrant, adventurous young woman to her years mothering her twins, Elaine and Don; from the time she stepped out of her ordinary life to have her portrait painted to the present day, when she looks into her mirror at “the facility” and says to herself, “I have no idea who you are or why you’re here.”

Lucy’s chapters revolve around the difficulties of new motherhood—the crying, the late nights, the sudden, obstinate behavior of her young son. She increasingly takes out her frustrations on her husband, whom she sees as blissfully removed from most of the childrearing as he enjoys his daily routine at the newspaper and his frequent work-related trips abroad.

Numerous scenes in this thoughtful novel will linger in the reader’s memory—like Elsie’s husband, Clem, graciously reaching out to an old neighbor who divorced and moved away, but could be found “wandering around his old neighborhood, looking for his past.” Or the night when Clem dies in his sleep at age 54, when Elsie realizes that “suddenly all the plans they’d thought of making were too late.”

A lyrically written portrayal of the lives of two women tied together by memories and the house they share, A Hundred Small Lessons is sure to be enjoyed by readers of Kate Morton, another Brisbane author.

 

This article was originally published in the December 2017 issue of BookPage. Download the entire issue for the Kindle or Nook.

 
BAM Customer Reviews