Elegies for the Brokenhearted Summary and Reviews

Elegies for the Brokenhearted

by Christie Hodgen

Elegies for the Brokenhearted by Christie Hodgen X
Elegies for the Brokenhearted by Christie Hodgen
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  • Published in USA  Jul 2010
    271 pages
    Genre: Novels

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Book Summary

Who are the people you'll never forget? For Mary Murphy, there are five: A skirt-chasing, car-racing uncle with whiskey breath and a three-day beard. A "walking joke, a sitting duck, a fish in a barrel" named Elwood LePoer. A dirt-poor college roommate who conceals an unbearable secret. A failed piano prodigy lost in middle age. A beautiful mother haunted by her once-great aspirations.

In five quirky elegies to lost friends and relatives, Mary tells us the story of her life. We begin with a restless childhood spent following her mother between multiple homes and husbands. Then comes the disappearance of Mary's rebellious and beloved sister, Malinda. By the time Mary leaves for college, she has no one to write home to, and we follow along on her difficult search for purpose. From a series of miserable jobs to her "reborn" mother's deathbed, Mary finds hope in the most surprising places. With a rhythmically unique voice and pitch-perfect wry humor, Christie Hodgen spins an unconventional and moving story about identity, belonging, and family.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. Each elegy is a riveting trip into dark and essentially humorless territory made especially worthwhile by Hodgen's gorgeous prose." - Publishers Weekly

"Starred Review. Hodgen’s magnificent, heartbreaking journey with its moving finish is an unforgettable novel, a must-read." - Booklist

Deep, dark, and beautiful, Christie Hodgen’s story of a fabulously flawed family reads like a quintessentially American tale.... The generational cast of quirky, yet completely believable characters, the heartbreak and redemption as time unfolds, and Hodgen’s biting humor and exquisite writing all add up to a tremendous novel. Book clubs: put this one on your lists." - Lolly Winston, author of Happiness Sold Separately

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Author Information

Christie Hodgen

Christie Hodgen is the author of Elegies for the Brokenhearted; Hello, I Must Be Going; and A Jeweler’s Eye for Flaw. She has won the AWP Award for Short Fiction and the Pushcart Prize. She teaches at the University of Missouri–Kansas City.

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