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About Jane Hamilton
Jane Hamilton is the author of The Book of Ruth, winner of the PEN/Hemingway Award for first fiction, and A Map of the World, a New York Times Notable Book of the Year and named one of the top ten books of the year by Entertainment Weekly, Publishers Weekly, the Miami Herald, and People. Both The Book of Ruth and A Map of the World have been selections of Oprah's Book Club. Her following work, The Short History of a Prince, was a Publishers Weekly Best Book of 1998, her novel Disobedience was published in 2000, and her last novel When Madeline Was Young was a Washington Post Best Book of 2006. She lives in and writes in an orchard farmhouse in Wisconsin.
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From the New York Times–bestselling author of The Excellent Lombards and A Map of the World, this is “an extraordinary story of a family’s disintegration [that] will be compared to Jane Smiley’s A Thousand Acres” (People). It follows Ruth Grey, a young woman in a tiny Illinois farm town, who has lost her father to World War II, and constantly faces her unhappy mother’s wrath—when she isn’t being ignored in favor of her math-prodigy brother. As Ruth navigates her lonely life, she strives to find happiness and pleasure where she can, but the world may conspire to defeat her.
“A sly and wistful, if harrowing, human comedy . . . [An] original voice in fiction and one well worth listening to.” —The Boston Sunday Globe
“Unforgettably, beat by beat, Hamilton maps the best and worst of the human heart and all the mysterious, uncharted country in between.” —Kirkus Reviews
“Hamilton’s story builds to a shocking crescendo. Her small-town characters are as appealingly offbeat and brushed with grace as any found in Alice Hoffman’s or Anne Tyler’s novels.” —Glamour
"This is the book Jane Hamilton was born to write... [it is] magnificent." —Ann Patchett, New York Times bestselling author of Commonwealth
Mary Frances "Frankie" Lombard is fiercely in love with her family's sprawling apple orchard and the tangled web of family members who inhabit it. Content to spend her days planning capers with her brother William, competing with her brainy cousin Amanda, and expertly tending the orchard with her father, Frankie desires nothing more than for the rhythm of life to continue undisturbed. But she cannot help being haunted by the historical fact that some family members end up staying on the farm and others must leave. Change is inevitable, and threats of urbanization, disinheritance, and college applications shake the foundation of Frankie's roots. As Frankie is forced to shed her childhood fantasies and face the possibility of losing the idyllic future she had envisioned for her family, she must decide whether loving something means clinging tightly or letting go.
"Everything you could ask for in a coming-of-age novel-- funny, insightful, observant, saturated with hope and melancholy." —Tom Perotta, author ofLittle Childrenand The Leftovers
"Tender, eccentric, wickedly funny and sage...gives full voice to Jane Hamilton's storytelling gifts." - Nancy Horan, author of Loving Frank and Under the Wide and Starry Sky
The Goodwins, Howard, Alice, and their little girls, Emma and Claire, live on a dairy farm in Wisconsin. Although suspiciously regarded by their neighbors as "that hippie couple" because of their well-educated, urban background, Howard and Alice believe they have found a source of emotional strength in the farm, he tending the barn while Alice works as a nurse in the local elementary school.
But their peaceful life is shattered one day when a neighbor's two-year-old daughter drowns in the Goodwins' pond while under Alice's care. Tormented by the accident, Alice descends even further into darkness when she is accused of sexually abusing a student at the elementary school. Soon, Alice is arrested, incarcerated, and as good as convicted in the eyes of a suspicious community. As a child, Alice designed her own map of the world to find her bearings. Now, as an adult, she must find her way again, through a maze of lies, doubt and ill will.
A vivid human drama of guilt and betrayal, A Map of the World chronicles the intricate geographies of the human heart and all its mysterious, uncharted terrain. The result is a piercing drama about family bonds and a disappearing rural American life.
Akashic Books continues its award-winning series of original noir anthologies, launched in 2004 with Brooklyn Noir. Each book comprises all-new stories, each one set in a distinct neighborhood or location within the respect city. Now, fourteen authors who’ve experienced life in the Cream City share its mysteries in Milwaukee Noir.
With stories from: Jane Hamilton, Reed Farrel Coleman, Valerie Laken, Matthew J. Prigge, Shauna Singh Baldwin, Vida Cross, Larry Watson, Frank Wheeler Jr., Derrick Harriell, Christi Clancy, James E. Causey, Mary Thorson, Nick Petrie, and Jennifer Morales.
Praise for Milwaukee Noir
“Luxuriate in the seedy, wallow in the angry and shiver at the horrors that surely await you around the corner . . . The sheer localness of Milwaukee Noir is superb, and the seediness of many characters here would qualify them for membership in a Tom Waits song.” —Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
“A very strong collection of short fiction. . . . A richly textured collection that is, by turns, gripping, thought provoking, and simply entertaining.” —Booklist
“The violent, dark stories in this anthology fit the bill perfectly with the intention, as editor Hennessy writes, to be social commentary . . . . Tales by Jane Hamilton and Christi Clancy stand out, evidence that ordinary people can get swept up in hatred, even if they did not start out living with violence, drunkenness, or poverty.” —Library Journal
“Milwaukee bookseller and writer Hennessy does justice to the harsher aspects of his hometown in this fine anthology . . . The 14 contributors show that violence is not a prerequisite to crafting a haunting depiction of despair . . . The selections make the different neighborhoods, seedy or otherwise, come to life, even for those who have never set foot in them.” —Publishers Weekly
“Fourteen free-wheeling stories document the grit and glory of Milwaukee . . . A nod to Milwaukee’s blue-collar heritage, a frank look at racial disharmony, and a peek at the future make Hennessy’s collection a find for fans of urban noir.” —Kirkus Reviews
Soon, however, that pain is overshadowed when his older brother, Daniel, finds a strange lump on his neck and Walter realizes that a happy family can change overnight. The year that follows transforms the McClouds, as they try to hold together in the face of the fearful consequences of Daniel's illness, and Walter makes discoveries about himself and his friendships that will change him forever.
Decades later, after Walter has left home and returned, he must come to terms with the memories of that year, and grapple once and for all with the challenge of carving out a place for himself in this all-too-familiar world.
A moving story of the torments of sexuality and the redemptive power of family and friendship, The Short History of a Prince confirms Jane Hamilton's place as a preeminent novelist of our time.
Jenna Faroli is the host of a popular radio show, and in Laura's mind is "the single most famous person in the Town of Dover." When Jenna happens to cross Charlie's path one day, and they begin an e-mail correspondence, Laura cannot resist using Charlie to try out her new writing skills. Together, Laura and Charlie craft florid, strangely intimate messages that entice Jenna in an unexpected way. The "project" quickly spins out of control. The lines between Laura's words and Charlie's feelings are blurred and complicated, Jenna is transformed in ways that deeply disturb her, and Laura is transformed in her mind's eye into an artist. The transformations are hilarious and poignant, and for Laura Rider, beyond her wildest expectations.