The Center of Everything: Book summary and reviews of The Center of Everything by Jamie Harrison

The Center of Everything

by Jamie Harrison

The Center of Everything by Jamie Harrison X
The Center of Everything by Jamie Harrison
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  • Published in USA  Jan 2021
    304 pages
    Genre: Novels

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Book Summary

Set against the wild beauty of Montana as a woman attempts to heal from a devastating accident, this generational saga from the award-winning author of The Widow Nash is a heartfelt examination of how the deep bonds of family echo throughout our lives.

For Polly, the small town of Livingston, Montana, is a land charmed by raw, natural beauty and a close network of family that extends back generations. But the summer of 2002 finds Polly at a crossroads: a recent head injury has scattered her perception of the present, bringing to the surface long-forgotten events. As Polly's many relatives arrive for a family reunion during the Fourth of July holiday, a beloved friend goes missing on the Yellowstone River. Search parties comb the river as carefully as Polly combs her mind, and over the course of one fateful week, Polly arrives at a deeper understanding of herself and her larger-than-life relatives. Weaving together the past and the present, from the shores of Long Island Sound to the landscape of Montana, The Center of Everything examines with profound insight the memories and touchstones that make up a life and what we must endure along the way.

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Reviews

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"Through small moments, particularly shared meals and drinks, the reader becomes intimately involved in Polly's inner life and falls in love with a vividly portrayed Montana devoid of Western clichés. A sharply intelligent, warmhearted embrace of human imperfection—the kind of book that invites a second reading." - Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

"[B]rilliant...Harrison plumbs complex family relationships and sheds insight on the power of memories and how they shape her characters. Harrison shines with passages of vivid imagery as Polly gains an added dimension of perception from looking at art and photographs. Readers will find themselves wishing this won't end." - Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"In this exquisitely nuanced, beautifully constructed novel, Harrison ("Jules Clement" mystery series) draws the reader into young Polly's filtered understanding of her world, rich with happily married couples, vs. the uncertain reality of the adult Polly, coping with memory loss while slowly untangling shocking family secrets. A magnificent gem." - Library Journal

"Recommended for book clubs and fans of complex, literary fiction" - Booklist

"The Center of Everything slips deftly through time, all the while taking the reader to the marvelous unfolding of secrets (both wondrous and murderous) that were right before our eyes. How beautifully our attention is distracted and illuminated in this resonant novel." - Joan Silber, author of Improvement

"This doesn't feel like a work of fiction. It feels real, like reading someone's diary. I'm left convinced that these characters have immortal souls and I find comfort in their familiarity. I want to spend more time in their world, urging them to whisper their secrets in my ear. A brilliant book." - Jamie Ford, New York Times bestselling author of Hotel On the Corner of Bitter and Sweet

"The Center of Everything is a bighearted, feet-on-the-ground, bracing, intelligent book. Its people will endure in readers' memories, page after compelling page." - Thomas McGuane, author of Ninety-Two in the Shade

This information about The Center of Everything shown above was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. In most cases, the reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author and feel that the reviews shown do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, please send us a message with the mainstream media reviews that you would like to see added.

Any "Author Information" displayed below reflects the author's biography at the time this particular book was published.

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Author Information

Jamie Harrison

Jamie Harrison, who has lived in Montana with her family for more than thirty years, has worked as a caterer, a gardener, and an editor, and is the author of The Center of Everything, The Widow Nash, and the four Jules Clement/Blue Deer mysteries: The Edge of the Crazies, Going Local, An Unfortunate Prairie Occurrence, and Blue Deer Thaw. She was awarded the Mountains & Plains Independent Booksellers Association Reading the West Book Award for The Widow Nash, and was a finalist for the High Plains Book Award.

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