The Blessings (Hardcover)

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Description


When John Blessing dies and leaves behind two small children, the loss reverberates across his extended family for years to come. His young widow, Lauren, finds solace in her large clan of in-laws, while his brother's wife Kate pursues motherhood even at the expense of her marriage. John's teenage nephew Stephen finds himself involved in an act of petty theft that takes a surprising turn, and nephew Alex, a gifted student, travels to Spain and considers the world beyond his family's Northeast Philadelphia neighborhood. Through departures and arrivals, weddings and reunions, THE BLESSINGS reveals the interior worlds of the members of a close-knit Irish-Catholic family and the rituals that unite them.
"There's no shortage of novels about the quirks and tragedies of large families, but The Blessings is a uniquely poignant, prismatic look at an Irish-Catholic clan as it rallies after losing one of its own."-Entertainment Weekly
"[A] bighearted novel. . . . Juska's moving, multifaceted portrait of the Blessing family gleams like a jewel."-Philadelphia Inquirer
"Fans of writers like Anne Tyler, Alice McDermott and even Richard Yates will revel in Juska's resplendent novel detailing two decades in the life of the Blessing clan. The story carefully balances the highs and lows of the everyday through the author's exquisite prism."-BookReporter.com
"Several generations of the Blessings, a Philadelphia-based, Irish-American family, come beautifully to life in a deceptively simple tale that examines the foibles, disappointments and passions that tie family members together. . . the reader leaves feeling lucky to have spent some time in their presence."-Publishers Weekly (starred review)
"Elise Juska is so good at describing people, places, and moments that you not only picture them, you feel them."-Curtis Sittenfeld
"Afamily so real in all their sorrow, joy and complexity that they could be yours or mine . . . bursting with wise observations about the nature of love and belonging."-J. Courtney Sullivan, New York Times-bestselling author of The Engagements and Maine

About the Author


Elise Juska's fiction and nonfiction have appeared in Ploughshares, the Gettysburg Review, the Missouri Review, Good Housekeeping, the Hudson Review, Harvard Review, and many other publications. She is the recipient of the Alice Hoffman Prize for Fiction from Ploughshares and her work has been cited in The Best American Short Stories. She lives in Philadelphia, where she is the director of the undergraduate creative writing program at the University of the Arts.

Praise for The Blessings…


"There's no shortage of novels about the quirks and tragedies of large families, but The Blessings is a uniquely poignant, prismatic look at an Irish-Catholic clan as it rallies after losing one of its own."—Entertainment Weekly

"[A] bighearted novel. . . . Juska's moving, multifaceted portrait of the Blessing family gleams like a jewel."—The Philadelphia Inquirer

"Several generations of the Blessings, a Philadelphia-based, Irish-American family, come beautifully to life in a deceptively simple tale that examines the foibles, disappointments and passions that tie family members together. . . The author brings a depth of understanding to the human condition, including in her descriptions of Abby's cousin Stephen, on the road to becoming a ne'er-do-well; her uncle Patrick, a successful eye doctor, contemplating infidelity; and Meghan coming to terms with her eating disorder . . . Despite these challenges, the Blessings rally round each other-whether that attention is wanted or not-and the reader leaves feeling lucky to have spent some time in their presence."—Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"Juska explores the collective experiences, traditions and loyalties of a close-knit family . . . a multilayered, sympathetic account of its members' lives."—Kirkus Reviews

"We are in good hands with award-winning short story author Juska. She is a shrewd observer of human nature and has an outstanding ability to bring her characters to life on the page . . . this wonderfully readable work about family life will have you eagerly turning pages."—Library Journal

"With each chapter, Juska takes readers into the life of a different family member, honoring the individuality that blossoms even amid the strong bonds of a family's deep love. She draws intimate and detailed sketches of each of these characters, but the ultimate portrait is of the Blessing family as a whole. This heartfelt tribute to the ups and downs of a large, devoted family is warm, uplifting, and recommended for readers from families of all sizes."—Booklist

"Beautifully crafted. . . Juska draws the characters so fully, with thoughts and feelings so real, the reader can't help but become emotionally invested."—All You

"Juska's emotionally resonant storytelling will remain with you long after turning the last page."—Irish America

"The Blessings are a family so real in all their sorrow, joy and complexity that they could be yours or mine. Juska's portrait of this close-knit clan is bursting with wise observations about the nature of love and belonging. I enjoyed every page."—J. Courtney Sullivan, New York Times-bestselling author of The Engagements and Maine

"In the tradition of Elizabeth Berg's and Alice McDermott's work, The Blessings is a knowing portrait of a sprawling Irish-American family in Philly across the last thirty years, in all their shared strength and separate weaknesses. Elise Juska is deft and tender, letting us get close to her characters in their most vulnerable moments. The ties that bind are never simple, and often painful, but as one daughter acknowledges, 'these are the hidden intimacies, the private exchanges, on which she builds her life.'"—Stewart O'Nan, author of Songs for the Missing and Emily, Alone

"Elise Juska is so good at describing people, places, and moments that you not only picture them, you feel them."—Curtis Sittenfeld

"In this absorbing novel, Elise Juska moves effortlessly among family members and across decades, covering tragedy and triumph, love and loyalty. I adored everything about this book and raced to finish it, only to turn the last page and long for more time with this large, complicated, close-knit family."—Jennifer Close, author of Girls in White Dresses and The Smart One

"Elise Juska, with a sharp and generous eye, charts the duality of family life in her novel-in-stories, The Blessings. Juska's characters, in their all-too-real efforts at self-discovery, remain home or travel the world, dabble with temptation or stay committed, reveal secrets or keep them; the one constant is their shared blood and history. Each exquisitely layered story builds on top of the other, leaving the reader with a lasting portrait of what it means to be a part of a family in today's fractured world."—Siobhan Fallon, author of You Know When the Men Are Gone

Product Details ISBN-10: 1455574031
ISBN-13: 9781455574032
Published: Grand Central Publishing, 05/06/2014
Pages: 272
Language: English


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