"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." Read an excerpt of The Blessings.
"Elise Juska's fiction and nonfiction have appeared in Ploughshares, Gettysburg Review, The Missouri Review, Good Housekeeping, The Hudson 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." You can connect with Elise Juska on Twitter.
What's Elise reading? "I just devoured the new Anne Enright, The Green Road, about a complicated Irish family. Enright’s novels feel so lived in, the sentences so graceful and lovely yet unsentimental and sometimes devastating at the same time. Staying with the complicated-family theme, I also recently enjoyed Maile Meloy’s Liars and Saints and Akhil Sharma’s Family Life."
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