Finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award
Finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize
Chicago Tribune Favorite Fiction of the Year
O, The Oprah Magazine Ten Terrific Reads of the Year
A Washington Post Best Book of the Year
Kansas City Star 100 Best Books of the Year
Synopses & Reviews
Michelle Huneven, Richard Russo once wrote, is a writer of extraordinary and thrilling talent. That talent explodes with her third book, Blame
, a spellbinding novel of guilt and love, family and shame, sobriety and the lack of it, and the moral ambiguities that ensnare us all.
The story: Patsy MacLemoore, a history professor in her late twenties with a brand-new Ph.D. from Berkeley and a wild streak, wakes up in jail yet again after another epic alcoholic blackout. "Okay, what'd I do?" she asks her lawyer and jailers. "I really don't remember." She adds, jokingly: "Did I kill someone?"
In fact, two Jehovah's Witnesses, a mother and daughter, are dead, run over in Patsy's driveway. Patsy, who was driving with a revoked license, will spend the rest of her life in prison, getting sober, finding a new community (and a husband) in AA — trying to atone for this unpardonable act.
Then, decades later, another unimaginable piece of information turns up.
For the reader, it is an electrifying moment, a joyous, fall-off-the-couch-with-surprise moment. For Patsy, it is more complicated. Blame must be reapportioned, her life reassessed. What does it mean that her life has been based on wrong assumptions? What can she cleave to? What must be relinquished?
When Huneven's first novel, Round Rock, was published, Valerie Miner, in the Los Angeles Times Book Review, celebrated Huneven's "moral nerve, sharp wit and uncommon generosity." The same spirit electrifies Blame. The novel crackles with life — and, like life, can leave you breathless.
“A novel that combines the compulsive pleasures of a page-turner and the deeper satisfaction of true, thoughtful literature.” Entertainment Weekly
“Unfolds like a thriller, creating a sense of urgency and mystery even about everyday matters. . . . Huneven's prose moves like a hummingbird, in small bursts that are improbably fast and graceful." The New York Times Book Review
“Smart, deep, addictive . . . Huneven's language hums, her dialogue jumps. . . . There are so many eye-popping scenes I would need to take my shoes off to count them.” GQ
“Wonderful . . . How do you build lasting relationships when the world insists on crumbling around you? That's Huneven's theme here, and she does a lovely job with it.” The Washington Post
“An elegant, hair-raising novel . . . Huneven's prose is flawless.” The New Yorker
“The satisfactions Blame offers readers are elegant prose and, deeper than that aesthetic pleasure, the intelligence and compassion Huneven brings to her characters. She holds them all with the utmost tenderness.” Los Angeles Times
“Michelle Hunevens new novel, Blame, is a lovely, shimmering tour de force, full of an astonishing sense of the beauty of the world, the inestimable complexity of moral consequences, and the bright pleasures of Hunevens prose. Read it.” Roxana Robinson, author of Cost
“In Blame, a guilty protagonist strives for the good and achieves the beautiful — and, eventually, the truth. Huneven's supple, world-loving prose elevates small gestures into redemptive acts and everyday objects into restorative gifts, rewarding the reader on every page.” Janet Fitch, author of White Oleander and Paint It Black
“Huneven turns complicated moral issues into utterly riveting reading in this beautifully written story of remorse and redemption.” Booklist (starred review)
Huneven's third book is a spellbinding novel of guilt and love, family and shame, sobriety and the lack of it, and the moral ambiguities that ensnare us all.
FINALIST FOR THE NATIONAL BOOK CRITICS CIRCLE AWARD
FINALIST FOR THE LOS ANGELES TIMES BOOK PRIZE
CHICAGO TRIBUNE FAVORITE FICTION OF THE YEAR
O, THE OPRAH MAGAZINE TEN TERRIFIC READS OF THE YEAR
A WASHINGTON POST BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR
A KANSAS CITY STAR 100 BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR
Patsy MacLemoore, a twenty-eight-year-old history professor with a brand-new Ph.D. and a wild streak, wakes up in jail—yet again—after another epic alcoholic blackout. This time, though, a mother and daughter are dead, run over in Patsys driveway. Patsy will the next decades of her life atoning for this unpardonable act. She goes to prison, sobers up, marries a much older man she meets in AA, and makes ongoing amends to her victims' family. Then, another piece of news turns up, casting her crime, and her life, in a different and unexpected light. Brilliant, morally complex, and often funny, Blame is a breathtaking story of contrition and what it takes to rebuild a life from the bottom up.
For fans of Liane Moriarty and Sarah Pekkanen, a light-hearted yet heartfelt novel exploring what happens when two women love the same man—and then he dies.
When a married man suffers a sudden fatal accident, two women are shattered — his wife and his mistress — and past secrets, desires, and regrets are brought to light.
While walking home from work one evening, Jeff Manning is struck by a car and killed. Two women fall to pieces at the news: his wife, Claire, and his co-worker Tish. Reeling from her loss, Claire must comfort her grieving son as well as contend with funeral arrangements, well-meaning family members, and the arrival of Jeff’s estranged brother, who was her ex-boyfriend. Tish volunteers to attend the funeral on her company’s behalf, but only she knows the true risk of inserting herself into the wreckage of Jeff’s life.
Told through the three voices of Jeff, Tish, and Claire, Hidden explores the complexity of relationships, the repercussions of our personal choices, and the responsibilities we have to the ones we love.
About the Author
CATHERINE McKENZIE is a graduate of McGill University and McGill Law School, and practices law in Montreal. Her previous novels Forgotten, Spin, and Arranged were published by HarperCollins and are international bestsellers. Find her at catherinemckenzie.com and @CEMcKenzie1.