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The Book That Matters Most
by Ann Hood


Overview - Ava's twenty-five-year marriage has fallen apart, and her two grown children are pursuing their own lives outside of the country. Ava joins a book group, not only for her love of reading but also out of sheer desperation for companionship. The group's goal throughout the year is for each member to present the book that matters most to them.  Read more...

 
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More About The Book That Matters Most by Ann Hood
 
 
 
Overview
Ava's twenty-five-year marriage has fallen apart, and her two grown children are pursuing their own lives outside of the country. Ava joins a book group, not only for her love of reading but also out of sheer desperation for companionship. The group's goal throughout the year is for each member to present the book that matters most to them. Ava rediscovers a mysterious book from her childhood--one that helped her through the traumas of the untimely deaths of her sister and mother. Alternating with Ava's story is that of her troubled daughter Maggie, who, living in Paris, descends into a destructive relationship with an older man. Ava's mission to find that book and its enigmatic author takes her on a quest that unravels the secrets of her past and offers her and Maggie the chance to remake their lives.

 
Details
  • ISBN-13: 9780393241655
  • ISBN-10: 0393241653
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
  • Publish Date: August 2016
  • Page Count: 368


Related Categories

Books > Fiction > Contemporary Women
Books > Fiction > Sagas
Books > Fiction > Family Life

 
Publishers Weekly Reviews

Publishers Weekly® Reviews

  • Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
  • Review Date: 2016-06-06
  • Reviewer: Staff

Hood’s (The Obituary Writer) latest novel is a moving, intricate story about loss, healing, and the value of critical thinking. A year after being left by her husband, Ava is still reeling from the grief of separation, which brought back the pain of losing her sister and mother early in life. In order to branch out and meet new people, Ava joins a book club where each member must choose a book that matters most to them for the group to discuss. Although the new activity keeps her engaged, Ava, who lives in Providence, R.I., still feels alone, with her son abroad in Africa and her daughter studying in Florence. What Ava doesn’t know is that her daughter has recently quit school and is now living in Paris under increasingly dangerous circumstances. Ava doesn’t immediately enjoy the book group (she watches a movie adaptation instead of reading the first book), but bit by bit, book by book, she rediscovers her love of reading, makes new friends, and begins to heal. As the narrative focus moves among different characters and back and forth in time, suspense builds about what happened to Ava’s mother and sister and what might happen to her daughter. Meanwhile, the book club allows Ava to examine her grief and slowly learn how to move forward. This is a gripping, multifaceted novel about recovering from different kinds of loss and the healing that comes from a powerful story. (Aug.)

 
BookPage Reviews

Finding a home in a book club

Readers who have ever turned to a book to get out of a slump are going to love Ann Hood’s The Book That Matters Most. The story begins on a festive December night in downtown Providence where Ava, a middle-aged French professor, is feeling anything but festive after discovering her husband’s infidelity. Like a film reel, memories of her once perfect life keep running in her head and no number of martinis can push the stop button. Miles away in Paris, Ava’s daughter, Maggie, is going through a crisis of her own after a failed attempt at writing a novel. Both women are desperate for something to pull them out of their misery.

Ava meets her savior in the form of a book club headed by her librarian friend, Cate, where each member must choose the book that matters most to her for the club to read. Hesitant at first about fitting in and even making the grave mistake of Netflixing her first book, Ava soon finds the comfort she is looking for in the books and the club members.  

With Maggie, on the other hand, Hood takes us on a roller coaster ride through drug addiction, poor choices in men and her desperation to write. She finds a lifeline in a tiny bookstore run by a mysterious and stoic American expat. 

Getting lost and then being found would in itself make for a wonderful story, but Hood adds another layer of complexity, linking the parallel journeys of mother and daughter in an unexpected way. The Book That Matters Most is an engrossing tale that reminds us of the power of the written word to comfort the soul.


ALSO IN BOOKPAGE: Read a Behind the Book feature by Ann Hood on The Book That Matters Most.
 

This article was originally published in the August 2016 issue of BookPage. Download the entire issue for the Kindle or Nook.

 
BAM Customer Reviews