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Any Bitter Thingby D.E. Ed. Wood
Synopses & Reviews
Richard Russo has celebrated Monica Wood's fiction as "thoroughly captivatingwarm and wise and beautifully written," and Andre Dubus III praised it as "luminous and gracefulentertaining yet transcendent." Any Bitter Thing, Wood's brilliant new novel, is her breakout book, a timely, gripping, and compassionate tale of family, faith, and deeply hidden truths. One of its greatest strengths is its continuous ability to defy expectations. It's not what you think. It is worse. Lizzy Mitchell was raised from the age of two by her uncle, a Catholic priest. When she was nine, he was falsely accused of improprieties with her and dismissed from his church, and she was sent away to boarding school. Now thirty years old and in a failing marriage, she is nearly killed in a traffic accident. What she discovers when she sets out to find the truths surrounding the accidentand about the accusations that led to her uncle's deathdoes more than change her life. With deft insight into the snares of the human heart, Monica Wood has written an intimate and emotionally expansive novel full of understanding and hope.
"A near-fatal accident in the dark of night — 30-year-old Lizzy is struck in a hit-and-run — sets in motion a complicated, surprising story of love, loss and sacrifice. When Lizzy was two, her parents were killed in a plane crash, and she was sent to live with her beloved Uncle Mike, a Catholic priest. In prose as fresh and lovely as a Maine summer evening, Lizzy tells of seven halcyon years with her uncle. But when a bitter housekeeper falsely accuses Mike of sexually abusing Lizzy, her cozy world is shattered. Sent to live with relatives, Lizzy is told that Mike succumbed to the weak family heart and died. So how has he visited her in her hospital room after the hit-and-run? This, as well as the mystery of why Father Mike meekly accepted the accusations leveled against him, begins to come clear when Lizzy's accident and rehabilitation dredge up questions of another tragic event, long hidden. Following the structure of the Liturgy of the Hours from Invitatory to Matins, Wood (My Only Story) employs a sophisticated, layered architecture, circling from present to past to reveal shocking truths. Interspersed with Lizzy's first-person narration are sections told from Uncle Mike's third-person perspective, which provide mesmerizing insight into what is known and what is remembered. Wood's story unassumingly builds in power, right up to its moving final page. Agent, Gail Hochman. (May)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
Long championed by writers including Richard Russo and Andre Dubus III, "Any Bitter Thing is Monica Wood's most powerful novel, a timely and deeply moving novel of faith, family, and hidden truths. After her parents were killed in a plane crash. Lizzy Mitchell was sent to live with her beloved Uncle Mike, a Catholic priest who raised her from the age of two. When Lizzy turned nine. Father Mike was dismissed from the church under allegations of impropriety with her--even though nothing happened--based on the testimony of the church maid and the feelings of many of the parishioners that a priest should not be raising a child. Any Bitter Thing is the story of a loving, responsible, devout, but flawed man undergoing a crisis of priestly commitment and participating adores, and to Vivienne, his only friend. In her search for the truth, Lizzy will discover both painful sacrifice and shocking betrayal in the people she thought she knew best.
About the Author
Monica Wood is also the author of Ernie's Ark, a collection of stories, and My Only Story, a novel. Her fiction, book reviews, and articles appear in numerous magazines and literary journals. She was born and still lives in Maine, which is also where her fiction takes place.
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