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In the River Sweetby Patricia Henley
Synopses & Reviews
Ruth Anne Bond is a woman of fifty living in Indiana; her long marriage is happy, her Catholic faith is robust, her life is exceedingly rich. But just as she is learning to embrace her daughter's newly revealed lesbianism — and is angrily questioning the Church's disapproval — Ruth Anne is brought face-to-face with the secret she's kept from her family for almost thirty years: she is contacted by her illegitimate son.
What emerges — in extraordinarily evocative scene — is a story that flashes back to 1968, when nineteen-year-old Ruth Anne was a volunteer in a Saigon convent, and then moves forward as she and her family struggle to come to terms not only with her past, but with its subtle and profound effects on their lives today.
In the River Sweet takes on issues of religion and sexuality, of relationships both within and outside of the family, in ways that are edgy, unpredictable, and entirely free of cliche. Beautifully written, sensitive, and moving, it is certain to bring its author the widespread audience and acclaim she so richly deserves.
National Book Award finalist Patricia Henley captivates us with this engrossing novel of a woman whose long-held secret will transform her life and her marriage.
From all appearances, Ruth Anne Bond is enviably lucky. Her husband, Johnny, still treats her like a young lover. Her grown daughter is a staunch friend. Her steady work and devotion to the church have quietly made her a pillar of the community. Then one long Indiana summer brings some unexpected communiqués—including one she has both craved and feared for thirty years. As long-hidden truths threaten to emerge, for the first time in her marriage Ruth Anne is faced with memories she and Johnny never discuss: of a year spent in Saigon in 1968—and a past she has yet to acknowledge. Probing questions of family and faith, Patricia Henley offers us a tender, far-sighted novel about seeking answers and achieving grace.
From the author of "Hummingbird House"--a National Book Award Finalist--comesan emotionally enthralling novel about family and faith, and what it means tobe moral in a world of conflicting moral codes.
About the Author
Patricia Henleys first novel, Hummingbird House, was a finalist for the 1999 National Book Award and The New Yorker Best Fiction Book Award. Henley has also written two books of poetry, Learning to Die and Back Roads, and three story collections: Friday Night at Silver Star, which won the 1985 Montana Arts Council First Book Award; The Secret of Cartwheels; and Worship of the Common Heart: New and Selected Stories. Her stories have been published in such magazines as The Atlantic Monthly, Ploughshares, The Missouri Review, The Boston Globe Sunday Magazine, and Northwest Review, and anthologized in The Best American Short Stories and The Pushcart Prize anthology. Henley lives in West Lafayette, Indiana, where she teaches in the M.F.A. Creative Writing Program at Purdue University.
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