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The Resurrection of Joan Ashby

By: Cherise Wolas

Publisher: Macmillan Trade

Imprint: Flatiron Books

Format: Hardcover | ISBN: 9781250081438

Other Formats:

Electronic | Audio | Trade Paperback

On Sale: | Pages: 544

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  • About the Book
  • Reviews
Longlisted for 2019 International DUBLIN Literary AwardLonglisted for 2018 PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize for Debut FictionKirkus Reviews's Best Fiction of 2017Kirkus Reviews's Best Debut Novels of 2017Booklist's Top 10 First Novels: 2017The New York Times Book Review's Editors' ChoiceIndie Next Pick for September 2017Kirkus Reviews's 13 Fiction Debuts & Breakthroughs That Live Up to the HypeBustle's 9 Fall Book Debuts By Women You're Going To Want To Read ImmediatelyNantucket Magazine's 7 for September 2017Kirkus Reviews's 9 Excellent Reads for Labor Day WeekendEntertainment Weekly's Thirteen Books to Read in AugustSan Diego Magazine's Your Book Shelf: 5 Books to Read in August" A] stunning debut...reminds me of my most favorite authors: J.D. Salinger, Carson McCullers, Truman Capote, Joan Didion." --A.M. HomesI viewed the consumptive nature of love as a threat to serious women. But the wonderful man I just married believes as I do--work is paramount, absolutely no children--and now love seems to me quite marvelous.These words are spoken to a rapturous audience by Joan Ashby, a brilliant and intense literary sensation acclaimed for her explosively dark and singular stories.When Joan finds herself unexpectedly pregnant, she is stunned by Martin's delight, his instant betrayal of their pact. She makes a fateful, selfless decision then, to embrace her unintentional family. Challenged by raising two precocious sons, it is decades before she finally completes her masterpiece novel. Poised to reclaim the spotlight, to resume the intended life she gave up for love, a betrayal of Shakespearean proportion forces her to question every choice she has made.Epic, propulsive, incredibly ambitious, and dazzlingly written, The Resurrection of Joan Ashby is a story about sacrifice and motherhood, the burdens of expectation and genius. Cherise Wolas's gorgeous debut introduces an indelible heroine candid about her struggles and unapologetic in her ambition.
...[an] ambitious, problematic debut novel... What slows the narrative down are the excerpts from her work. It's frustrating to read mere portions of a short story or novel, in part because they require we take leave of Joan's vivid fictional life. Joan Ashby's writing is a touch amateur; for instance, raindrops are “big as cats and dogs,” and her characters read like fantasies of free spirits more than actual people. It's hard to believe her fiction would have influenced the literary conversation or made her an international best seller.... All narratives must manage the passage of time, but a novel that covers decades must distill entire years into paragraphs, a challenge for any writer, let alone a debut novelist. Sometimes Wolas's book reads like a juicy 19th-century tome, the narrative alighting on essential moments and then jumping forward in years, time sweeping over the reader. The flip side is that a few key events in the Manning family feel glossed over.... That I got so worked up about a person who doesn't exist is a testament to Cherise Wolas's success in creating a complex and distinct fictional character.
—New York Times
This is a novel for which the phrase “fiercely ambitious” is apt. When an author makes her protagonist a brilliant writer --- and quotes her stories at great length --- she has to be very confident of her skill. That confidence is justified here, and elevates this book above its sometimes contrived, sometimes meandering plot.... There's much to admire in Cherise Wolas' debut novel. She writes with a sure-handedness that would be impressive even if this were not her first effort... Nevertheless, one is left to wonder if the plot is at times a device that allows the author to explore her central character's inevitable path through life at the expense of the supporting characters, including her husband and sons. Though the three play major roles, they never seem to inhabit quite the same reality as Joan.
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