Synopses & Reviews
Three lives are bound together by a split-second mistake, and a child’s fate hangs in the balance. What happens next will test—and restore — your faith in humanity.
Far from the neon lights of the Vegas strip, three lives are about to collide. A middle aged woman attempting to revive her marriage. A returning soldier waking up in a hospital with no memory of how he got there. A very brave eight-year-old immigrant boy.
This is a story about families — the ones we have and the ones we make. It’s a story about America today, where so many cultures and points of view collide and coexist. We Are Called to Rise challenges us to think about our responsibilities to each other and reminds us that no matter how cruel life can be in a given moment, it is ultimately beautiful to live, and live fully.
"In her debut novel, McBride introduces us chapter by chapter to a disparate group of Las Vegans. Among them are Avis, whose husband Jim has just left her for another woman, and their son, Nate, a troubled veteran of the Iraq War who has returned to join a craven Vegas police department and who has begun to abuse his young wife. We also meet Bashkim, an Albanian immigrant boy whose unassimilated parents barely survive selling ice cream from a truck; another veteran named Luis, who is hospitalized after a suicide attempt, and with whom Bashkim begins corresponding as part of a school project; and various other school officials and charitable folk who, for better or worse, are trying to help sort things out. The story builds tension as the lives of these people unfold, intersecting in violent and catastrophic circumstances. But McBride's characters are warm with pulsing vitality, their interior struggles as dramatic as the painful events that will alter each of their paths. The narrative is compelling enough to draw the reader along, even as it skips from one character's point of view to another. And it is a testament to the author's mature voice and storytelling talent that we are willing to take to heart the lessons her story offers. Agent: Stephanie Cabot, Gernert Company. (June)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"McBride has written an urgent morality tale for our times in the form of this poignant and gripping debut." Library Journal, starred review
"Stirring...pitch-perfect...a universal story about the messy wonders of community." Entertainment Weekly
"Rarely does a novel reach into my soul and leave me sobbing, but We Are Called to Rise did just that with its beautifully drawn characters, true-to-life plot, and such exquisite writing that it's hard to believe that this is Laura McBride's first book....a graceful portrait of our time." Minneapolis Star Tribune
"Hauntingly timely...pitch-perfect...a plainspoken realism that beckons the reader along from page one...reminding us that courage and character are often writ large during the darkest of days." BookPage
"Your heart will break...then soar." Redbook
"The lives of four Las Vegas families collide, reminding us all that every act — no matter how insignificant it might seem — matters. You'll be thinking about these characters long after you finish this haunting, heart-wrenching and hopeful book." Houston Chronicle
"The consequences of war at home, and the possibility of community in our most atomized places, form the heart of a novel that's by turns hopeful and tragic, but never maudlin." Vulture
"A tour de force of imagination that packs a wallop...immensely moving...without question, McBride is a truly commanding literary presence." Booklist
“We never know how high we are / Till we are called to rise;
And then, if we are true to plan, / Our statures touch the skies—” (Emily Dickinson)
Beyond Las Vegas’s casinos lies a boomtown where four lives can be brought together by one split-second choice.
In the predawn hours, a woman’s marriage crumbles with a single confession. Across town, an immigrant family struggles to fit in and get by in the land of opportunity. Three thousand miles away, a soldier wakes up in Walter Reed hospital with the vague feeling that he’s done something awful. In a single moment, these disparate lives intersect. Faced with seemingly insurmountable loss, each person must decide whether to give in to despair, or to find the courage and resilience to rise.
We Are Called to Rise is a story about a child’s fate. It is a story about families — the ones we have and the ones we make. It challenges us to think about our responsibilities to each other and reminds us that compassion and charity can rescue us, even in our darkest moment. It is a book that will break your heart and then put it back together.
About the Author
Laura McBride teaches at the College of Southern Nevada and lives with her husband and two children in Las Vegas. She graduated with a degree in American Studies from Yale University and wrote part of We Are Called to Rise, her first novel, while in residency at Yaddo.