Synopses & Reviews
The critically-acclaimed author of "In the Fall" delivers this insightful, revealing portrait of family secrets, in a book marked by an unforgettable cast of characters who have learned to survive by giving shape to their losses.
"'Family-fracturing secrets are at the heart of Lent's luminous third novel, a transcendent story about the healing power of love and art. Two decades after an intense romance curdles, hermetic Hewitt Pearce is living in his family's rural Vermont home, firing up his tractor for the occasional two-mile trip to the village, sometimes hiding in his hay barn, and producing prized custom ironwork when the spirit moves him. Upheaval arrives in the form of Jessica, a psychologically troubled waif with mysterious connections to Hewitt's late artist father. Then Hewitt learns that Emily, the girl he loved years earlier and whose life he has tracked from afar, is now a widow. Evocative flashbacks reveal his family's turbulent history, including Hewitt's days of sex, drugs, and rock and roll on a commune and his dark period of 'death-by-whisky drinking' after breaking up with Emily. This sympathetic depiction of a decent man wrestling with his demons while deciding whether to revive an old love or open himself to a new lover is less visceral than Lent's astonishing debut, In the Fall, and less gritty than his second novel, Lost Nation, but it's no less magisterial and every bit as beautifully written.' Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)"
Jeffrey Lent's previous novels have earned him comparisons to Cormac McCarthy, Pat Conroy, and William Faulkner, and his book In the Fall was hailed as one of the best of the year by The Christian Science Monitor and The New York Times. In A Peculiar Grace, Lent has delivered a book that takes his oeuvre in a new direction, a brilliant portrait of love, destruction, and rebirth in modern-day Vermont. Hewitt Pearce is a forty-three-year-old blacksmith who lives alone in his family home, producing custom ironwork and safeguarding a small collection of art his late father left behind. When Jessica, a troubled young vagabond, shows up in his backwoods one morning fleeing her demons, Hewitt's previously hermetic existence is suddenly challenged--more so when he learns that Emily, the love of his life whom he'd lost twenty years before, has been unexpectedly widowed. As he gradually uncovers the secrets of Jessica's past, and tries to win Emily's trust again, Hewitt must confront his own dark history and his family's, and rediscover how much he's craved human connection. The more he reflects on the heart-breaking losses that nearly destroyed both him and his father, however, the more Hewitt realizes that his art may offer a deliverance that no love or faith can. Set in the art scene of postwar New York, a commune in the early seventies, and contemporary small-town New England, A Peculiar Grace recalls Kent Haruf and Wallace Stegner. It's a remarkable achievement by one of our finest authors and an insightful portrait of family secrets, with an unforgettable cast of characters who have learned to survive by giving shape to their losses.
An unforgettable tale of love, family secrets, and the hold of the past in a family of New England artists, A Peculiar Grace is the latest triumph from the author of In the Fall , hailed by The Christian Science Monitor and The New York Times as one of the best books of the year. Hewitt Pearce lives alone in his family home, producing custom ironwork and safeguarding a small collection of art his late father left behind. When Jessica, a troubled young vagabond, washes up in his backwoods one morning, Hewitts hermetic existence is challenged. As he gradually uncovers Jessicas secrets and reestablishes contact with a woman he thought he had lost twenty years before, Hewitt must confront his own dark history and rediscover how much he craves human connection. A Peculiar Grace is a remarkable achievement by one of our finest authors, an insightful portrait of family secrets, and a rich tapestry filled with characters who have learned to survive by giving shape to their losses.