Synopses & Reviews
A tale of two sisters over seventy years that recovers the vibrant and unforgettable voice of Beverly Jensen
In 1916, Idella and Avis Hillock live on the edge of a chilly bluff in New Brunswick-a hardscrabble world of potato farms and lobster traps, rough men, hard work, and baffling beauty. From Gone, the heartbreaking story of their mother's medical crisis in childbirth, to the darkly comic Wake, which follows the grown siblings' catastrophic efforts to escort their father, Wild Bill Hillock's body to his funeral, the stories of Idella and Avis offer a compelling and wry vision of two remarkable women. The vivid cast includes Idella's philandering husband Edward, her bewilderingly difficult mother-in-law- and Avis, whose serial romantic disasters never quell her irrepressible spirit. Jensen's work evokes a time gone by and reads like an instant American classic.
Beverly Jensen died of cancer at the age of forty-nine without publishing her work. Since her death, her fiction has been championed by a dedicated group of supporters, including Stephen King and Joyce Carol Oates.
Published posthumously through the efforts of Beverly Jensen's many supporters, this widely acclaimed novel-in-stories offers a richly textured portrait of a bygone era. In 1916, Idella and Avis Hillock live on the edge of a chilly bluff in New Brunswick-a barren world of potato farms and lobster traps, rough men, hard work, and baffling beauty. From "Gone," the heartbreaking account of the crisis that changed their lives forever, through "Wake," a darkly comic saga of funeral plans gone awry, The Sisters from Hardscrabble Bay beautifully charts the trajectory of the Hillocks' divergent lives against the background of a lost slice of Americana.
About the Author
Beverly Jensen earned an MFA in drama from Southern Methodist University. After her death in 2003, her story “Wake” was published in the New England Review, included in The Best American Short Stories 2007, and was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. She is survived by her husband, Jay Silverman, and their two children.