Synopses & Reviews
In her luminous and long-awaited new novel, bestselling author Elizabeth Strout welcomes readers back to the archetypal, lovely landscape of northern New England, where the events of her first novel, Amy and Isabelle
, unfolded. In the late 1950s, in the small town of West Annett, Maine, a minister struggles to regain his calling, his family, and his happiness in the wake of profound loss. At the same time, the community he has served so charismatically must come to terms with its own strengths and failings faith and hypocrisy, loyalty and abandonment when a dark secret is revealed.
Tyler Caskey has come to love West Annett, "just up the road" from where he was born. The short, brilliant summers and the sharp, piercing winters fill him with awe as does his congregation, full of good people who seek his guidance and listen earnestly as he preaches. But after suffering a terrible loss, Tyler finds it hard to return to himself as he once was. He hasn't had The Feeling that God is all around him, in the beauty of the world for quite some time. He struggles to find the right words in his sermons and in his conversations with those facing crises of their own, and to bring his five-year-old daughter, Katherine, out of the silence she has observed in the wake of the family's tragedy.
A congregation that had once been patient and kind during Tyler's grief now questions his leadership and propriety. In the kitchens, classrooms, offices, and stores of the village, anger and gossip have started to swirl. And in Tyler's darkest hour, a startling discovery will test his congregation's humanity and his own will to endure the kinds of trials that sooner or later test us all.
In prose incandescent and artful, Elizabeth Strout draws readers into the details of ordinary life in a way that makes it extraordinary. All is considered life, love, God, and community within these pages, and all is made new by this writer's boundless compassion and graceful prose.
"[A] quiet, graceful second novel...earnest, introspective, and prone to occasional outbursts of deeply felt emotion....Readers who enjoyed...Amy and Isabelle will find much to move them in this tale..." Booklist
"[T]he redemptive ending doesn't quite make up for the gloom and spitefulness of the preceding pages. A melancholy tale of faith lostand found and an unhappy look at small-town life." Kirkus Reviews
"[R]adiates a humane, life-affirming warmth....Abide With Me is a book to curl up with on a bleak day, a book that isn't embarrassed to assert that 'where there are people, there is always the hope of love.'" San Francisco Chronicle
This collection attempts to incorporate cultural studies into the understanding of schooling, not simply addressing how students read themselves as "members" of a distinct culture, but how they, along with teachers and administrators, read popular texts in general. The purpose of this book is to suggest some alternative directions critical pedagogy can take in its critique of popular culture by inviting multiple reading of popular texts into its analysis of schooling and seeing many forms of popular culture as critical pedagogical texts.
About the Author
Elizabeth Strout's first novel, Amy and Isabelle, won the Los Angeles Times Art Seidenbaum Award for First Fiction and the Chicago Tribune Heartland Prize, and was a finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award as well as the Orange Prize in England. Her short stories have been published in a number of magazines, including the New Yorker. Currently she is on the faculty of the low-residency M.F.A. program at Queens University in Charlotte, North Carolina. She lives in New York City.