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Ten Thousand Saintsby Eleanor Henderson
Synopses & Reviews
“Eleanor Henderson is in possession of an enormous talent which she has matched up with skill, ambition, and a fierce imagination. The resulting novel, Ten Thousand Saints, is the best thing I've read in a long time.”
—Ann Patchett, bestselling author of Bel Canto and State of Wonder
A sweeping, multigenerational drama, set against the backdrop of the raw, roaring New York City during the late 1980s, Ten Thousand Saints triumphantly heralds the arrival a remarkable new writer. Eleanor Henderson makes a truly stunning debut with a novel that is part coming of age, part coming to terms, immediately joining the ranks of The Emperor's Children by Claire Messud and Jonathan Lethem's The Fortress of Solitude. Adoption, teen pregnancy, drugs, hardcore punk rock, the unbridled optimism and reckless stupidity of the young — and old — are all major elements in this heart-aching tale of the son of diehard hippies and his strange odyssey through the extremes of late 20th century youth culture.
“Henderson's debut novel bursts out of the gate with all of the drive and sensory assault of the punk music that infuses it….It's an auspicious debut, and gives us reason to hope that Henderson will mature as satisfyingly as her subjects do.” Boston Globe
“Countless coming-of-age novels have been written. When a truly exceptional story of this nature does come along, its a significant literary event… Ten Thousand Saints is memorable for its boldness and ambition, its empathetic prose, and the troubled souls who discover unlikely forms of redemption.” Dallas Morning News
"Henderson's powerful, surprising look at lost teens trying to course-correct with the violence-tinged straight-edge culture captivates via its authentic reassurance that adolescence is an often reckless ride to adulthood." Library Journal
“An irresistibly rich and engrossing novel…poignant, complex…Henderson brilliantly evokes the gritty energy of New York City in the ‘80s, and the violent euphoria of the music scene. The hard-edged settings highlight the touching vulnerability of young characters.” O magazine, Best Fiction 2011
In the roiling, electrified streets of New York City in the 1980s, Eliza, Jude, and Johnny each show up wanting a place to hide — from everything that has gone wrong, big and small, in their short lives. These three, thrown together by their parents mistakes and their own, and by the accidental death of a teenage boy, find their regrets transformed into a single, covert mission. Possibility shines from every neglected, graffitied surface. Possibility rings in the hardcore music and seething energy of the city's underground scene. But as they pursue the intoxicating promise of redemption and new life, their secret threatens to crush their alliance with its impossibly heavy burden.
About the Author
Eleanor Henderson earned her MFA from the University of Virginia in 2005. Her story "The Farms" was selected by Alice Sebold for The Best American Short Stories 2009. Henderson's fiction has also appeared in Agni, North American Review, Ninth Letter, and Columbia, among other publications. Her nonfiction has appeared in Poets & Writers, where she was a contributing editor, and Virginia Quarterly Review, where she was the chair of the fiction board. An assistant professor at Ithaca College, she lives in Ithaca, New York.
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