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News from Heaven : The Bakerton Stories
by Jennifer Haigh

Overview -

The bestselling author of Faith and The Condition returns with a collection of unforgettable short stories inspired by a Pennsylvania coal-mining town and the people who call it home.

When her iconic novel Baker Towers was published in 2005, it was hailed as a modern classic--"compassionate and powerful .  Read more...


 
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More About News from Heaven by Jennifer Haigh
 
 
 
Overview

The bestselling author of Faith and The Condition returns with a collection of unforgettable short stories inspired by a Pennsylvania coal-mining town and the people who call it home.

When her iconic novel Baker Towers was published in 2005, it was hailed as a modern classic--"compassionate and powerful . . . a song of praise for a too-little-praised part of America, for the working families whose toils and constancy have done so much to make the country great" (Chicago Tribune). Its young author, Jennifer Haigh, was "an expert natural storyteller with an acute sense of her characters' humanity" (New York Times).

Now, in this collection of interconnected short stories, Jennifer Haigh returns to the vividly imagined world of Bakerton, Pennsylvania, a coal-mining town rocked by decades of painful transition. From its heyday during two world wars through its slow decline, Bakerton is a town that refuses to give up gracefully, binding--sometimes cruelly--succeeding generations to the place that made them. A young woman glimpses a world both strange and familiar when she becomes a live-in maid for a Jewish family in New York City. A long-absent brother makes a sudden and tragic homecoming. A solitary middle-aged woman tastes unexpected love when a young man returns to town. With a revolving cast of characters--many familiar to fans of Baker Towers--these stories explore how our roots, the families and places in which we are raised, shape the people we eventually become.

News from Heaven looks unflinchingly at the conflicting human desires for escape and for connection, and explores the enduring hold of home.

 
Details
  • ISBN-13: 9780060889647
  • ISBN-10: 0060889640
  • Publisher: Harper
  • Publish Date: January 2013
  • Page Count: 244


Related Categories

Books > Fiction > Short Stories (single author)

 
Publishers Weekly Reviews

Publishers Weekly® Reviews

  • Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
  • Review Date: 2013-01-21
  • Reviewer: Staff

After her success with Baker Towers (2005), Haigh returns to the familiarity of Bakerton, Pennsylvania—the small coal mining "town of churches and bars" where "everybody knows your business"— for this short story collection that weaves through the generations of hopes, dreams, and regrets of a community. A dwindling "company town" set with identical "company houses", the mines had "employed nearly every man in town," but when they fail the residents were left to flounder. Some leave for better opportunities, like 16 year-old Annie who heads to New York City, hired as a housekeeper by an Upper West Side family. Sandy also flees Bakerton, its "bleak small-town life worse than jail," but his life of moving and gambling give him no peace of mind. And there are those who stay, such as Sandy's dependable sister Joyce, who could never leave because "freedom is, to her, unimaginable, as exotic as walking on the moon." The melancholia of these interconnected stories exude guilt, disappointment, and terminated dreams alongside a quiet strength in the memories of each former or current resident. Haigh skillfully explores a community and their conflicting sentiments of family and responsibility against desires for a future beyond the narrow scope of their hometown. Agent: Dorian Karchmar, William Morris Endeavor. (Feb.)

 
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