- Hardcover: 352 pages
- Publisher: Knopf (May 9 2017)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0307959570
- ISBN-13: 978-0307959577
- Product Dimensions: 16.8 x 3 x 24.3 cm
- Shipping Weight: 567 g
- Average Customer Review: 5 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #137,341 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Saints for All Occasions: A novel Hardcover – Deckle Edge, May 9 2017
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"Reminiscent of both Colm Toibin's Brooklyn and Matthew Thomas's We Are Not Ourselves… All of Sullivan's characters leap off the page. You don't read this book; you breathe it." –Janet Maslin, "Times Critics' Top Books of 2017," The New York Times
"Fabulous and smart." —Emma Straub, The New York Times Book Review
“Moving… Eloquently testifies to the durability of the fabric of family… Touched with… warmth, kindness and gentle wisdom.” —Sam Sacks, Wall Street Journal
“A breathtaking literary ode to life, change, and the unbreakable bonds of family.” —Redbook
“Carefully plotted... Sullivan succeeds in creating a believably complicated, clannish Irish-American family… Engrossing.” —Suzanne Berne, The New York Times
“An engrossing family drama… Sullivan’s profound understanding of her characters and the Irish-Catholic culture that defines them illuminates every scene.” —Kim Hubbard, People Magazine
“This year’s best book about family… Elegant… Captivating… Deft and insightful… A quiet masterpiece…impressive. Saints for All Occasions is so unassuming that its artistry looks practically invisible. In a simple style that never commits a flutter of extravagance, Sullivan draws us into the lives of the Raffertys, and in the rare miracle of fiction makes us care about them like they were our own family.” —Ron Charles, The Washington Post
“A blockbuster…An engrossing family drama with feisty humor and transformative tough love.”
“I hope to read another novel as strong and wise and beautiful and heartbreaking as J. Courtney Sullivan’s Saints for All Occasions this year, but I'm not sure I will.”
About the Author
J. COURTNEY SULLIVAN is the New York Times best-selling author of the novels The Engagements, Maine, and Commencement. Maine was named a 2011 Time magazine Best Book of the Year and a Washington Post Notable Book. The Engagements was one of People Magazine's Top Ten Books of 2013 and an Irish Times Best Book of the Year, and has been translated into seventeen languages. She has contributed to The New York Times Book Review, the Chicago Tribune, New York magazine, Elle, Glamour, Allure, Real Simple, and O: The Oprah Magazine, among many other publications. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.See all Product description
Top customer reviews
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The story's focus is on this dysfunctional family which has been unraveling for quite some time. The family members are adept at repressing how they truly feel and hiding deep, sometimes dark, family secrets - sometimes for decades. Besides the family turmoil Sullivan also explores what life was like for Irish immigrants, the horrible treatment of young, unwed mothers at the time and also touches on religion (specifically Catholicism) and its power and influence (good and bad) over people.
This was a slower kind of read that jumps back and forth from the late 1950's to 2009 and has various characters taking up the reins of the story. This helped to give some of the secondary characters more depth but the book mainly centres around Nora - the complicated matriarch who I wanted to hate but couldn't.
The one weakness for me was the ending which was left too ambiguous. After witnessing all of the family dysfunction I felt cheated out of the resolution and reveal. An epilogue would have given readers more closure.
This is a slow burn kind of read but it held my attention throughout. I love reading about the tangled, sometimes messiness of families - in all their various forms. This would be the perfect choice for people who enjoy books featuring the complexities of a dysfunctional family.
Disclaimer: My sincere thanks to Knopf Publishing for providing me with a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.
I found this family saga, told over fifty years, interesting but not completely satisfying. Both Nora and Theresa harbour feelings of guilt for their behaviour, but in the end, as a reader, I did not feel their story was resolved.
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