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Spring/Summer '09 Reading Group List
“This is a story of three adults who've been best friends from childhood -- with an edge. This is a beautifully written novel, with soul.”
— Lisa Stefanacci, The Book Works, Del Mar, CA
From the author of Stones from the River comes an intimate and dangerous story of three friends that goad one another into crossing a line that brings them shocking consequences.
Since early childhood, Annie, Jake, and Mason have had a special bond. When Annie's parents die on the same night that she and Mason are married, the three friends decide to raise Annie's newborn sister, Opal, together.
Annie struggles to be both a sister and a mother to Opal, a wife to Mason, and a friend to Jake. Not surprisingly, their relationships, already entangled, grow dangerous, too close, on the line.
One fateful night the three friends miss the moment when they could still turn back, provoking each other to step across a line that brings shocking, unforeseen consequences.
Once again, Ursula Hegi writes along that border where bliss and sorrow meet. Sensuous, funny, and mysterious, her new novel takes us into an exuberant and troubled friendship.
About the Author
Ursula Hegi is the author of The Worst Thing I've Done, Sacred Time, Hotel of the Saints, The Vision of Emma Blau, Tearing the Silence, Salt Dancers, Stones from the River, Floating in My Mother's Palm, Unearned Pleasures and Other Stories, Intrusions, and Trudi & Pia. She teaches writing at Stonybrook's Southhampton Campus and she is the recipient of more than thirty grants and awards.
"The Worst Thing I've Done is a beautiful book, exploring the mysterious, ever-shifting boundaries of love and desire. Drawn with glimpses of startling beauty and a constant sense of discovery, the moments of these lives, ordinary and painful, luminous and haunting, are cast artfully, compellingly, into a remarkable, moving story of acceptance and courage and change." -- Kim Edwards, author of The Memory Keeper's Daughter
"Ursula Hegi, always a master of illuminating the human condition, has in this novel the clear tone and brilliance of water in a pond, and the urgency of storm-tossed coasts. Her characters must navigate their own lives and sorrows and passions, and readers will follow along with held breath and hope." -- Susan Straight, author of Highwire Moon
"Ursula Hegi's fearless excavation of passion takes us into gripping and dangerous territory. She is that most subtle and powerful of writers who can illuminate the darkest ambiguities of the human soul - showing us how even the truest love can be shaded with the destructive." -- Shira Nayman, author of Awake in the Dark
"Ursula Hegi always writes about the important moments between people, filtered through history, both personal and political. She is a writer of grace and immediacy." -- Meg Wolitzer, author of The Position
"[Heg] is as skilled at piecing together an intricate storytelling design as Annie is at creating beautiful, complex collages.... Hegi, who has written often of large families and difficult relationships, convincingly plumbs the psychological processes of grief." -- San Francisco Chronicle
"The Worst Thing I've Done is the work of a mature and masterful writer at her peak. The layering -- the collage -- of character and point of view, tragedy and healing, creativity and loss, loyalty and fidelity, love and jealousy, all combine with lyrical prose in a story that resonates long after its end." -- The Washington Post