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Above the Thunderby Renee Manfredi
Synopses & Reviews
Above the Thunder tells the mesmerizing story of three generations of women confronting the emotional turmoil of abandonment, and the men with whom their lives converge. Young and ambitious Anna puts her career on hold to support her husband through medical school; only to find out she's pregnant when it's her turn. Troubled and difficult from the start, Anna's daughter, Poppy, hasn't been home since she drove away with the man who came to buy the family's VW bus. After a twelve-year absence, Poppy begs to reunite with her now widowed mother, only to disappear again, leaving her mysterious and wildly imaginative young daughter, Flynn, in Anna's care.
This is also the story of Jack and Stuart, a couple struggling with commitment despite their love for one another. When Jack and Stuart meet Anna in a support group, they feel a connection that eventually leads them to form a loving, if unlikely, family. Gorgeously written and imbued with both wisdom and humor, Above the Thunder reminds us that created families can be every bit as vital as the families into which we are born.
"[S]tunning....To describe the novel as a brilliant, issue-oriented drama shortchanges Manfredi's accomplishments...smooth storytelling, compassionate and probing narration and imaginative plotting [make] for a heady blend..." Publishers Weekly
"Longer and rather more drawnout than it needs to be, but a good account of friendship and loss, freshly narrated with a minimum of stereotypes and some sharply drawn characters." Kirkus Reviews
"[A] moving, engrossing family drama....Manfredi handles each character confidently and credibly." Whitney Scott, Booklist
Gorgeously written and imbued with wisdom and humor, Above the Thunder is a celebration of unexpected connections and the search for home with four characters converge in an unlikely but devoted family with the preternaturally smart and compelling Flynn at its center.
A wary, middle-aged widow numbed by loss and disappointment. A preternaturally intelligent little girl who eavesdrops on the dead. A charming, sybaritic gay man torn between his love for his partner and the anarchy of his desires.These are the charged poles of Ren?e Manfredis gorgeously written first novel, a book that explores the currents of tenderness, responsibility and chance that turn strangers into a family.
Anna Brinkman meets her ten-year-old granddaughter Flynn when the girl appears on her doorstep, desperate for a love more steadfast than any she has received from her parents. She meets Jack when he shows up in an AIDS support group she is running and does his best to get kicked out. What ensues in a house on the coast of Maine will be the great journey of all their lives. Filled with humor, sadness, and wisdom, Above the Thunder is a magical achievement.
About the Author
Renée Manfredi received her MFA from Indiana University, a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, and was a regional winner of Granta's Best American Novelists Under 40. Her short story collection, Where Love Leaves Us, won the Iowa Short Fiction Award. Her short stories have been published in The Mississippi Review, The Iowa Review, The Georgia Review, and the Pushcart Prize Anthology, and featured in NPR's "Selected Shorts" series. Manfredi is currently an associate professor at the University of Alaska. Above the Thunder is her first novel.
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