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News from Heaven: Book summary and reviews of News from Heaven by Jennifer Haigh

News from Heaven

The Bakerton Stories

by Jennifer Haigh

News from Heaven by Jennifer Haigh X
News from Heaven by Jennifer Haigh
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About this book

Book Summary

The bestselling author of Faith and The Condition returns with a collection of unforgettable short stories inspired by a Pennsylvania coal-mining town and the people who call it home.

When her iconic novel Baker Towers was published in 2005, it was hailed as a modern classic - "compassionate and powerful ... a song of praise for a too-little-praised part of America, for the working families whose toils and constancy have done so much to make the country great" (Chicago Tribune). Its young author, Jennifer Haigh, was "an expert natural storyteller with an acute sense of her characters' humanity" (New York Times).

Now, in this collection of interconnected short stories, Jennifer Haigh returns to the vividly imagined world of Bakerton, Pennsylvania, a coal-mining town rocked by decades of painful transition. From its heyday during two world wars through its slow decline, Bakerton is a town that refuses to give up gracefully, binding - sometimes cruelly - succeeding generations to the place that made them. A young woman glimpses a world both strange and familiar when she becomes a live-in maid for a Jewish family in New York City. A long-absent brother makes a sudden and tragic homecoming. A solitary middle-aged woman tastes unexpected love when a young man returns to town. With a revolving cast of characters - many familiar to fans of Baker Towers - these stories explore how our roots, the families and places in which we are raised, shape the people we eventually become.

News from Heaven looks unflinchingly at the conflicting human desires for escape and for connection, and explores the enduring hold of home.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. Haigh's narratives are beautifully realized stories of heartbreak, of qualified love and of economic as well as personal depression." - Kirkus

"Haigh has a gift for creating believable characters of all kinds and placing them into realistic - often heartbreaking - situations. A must read for fans of Baker Towers and a good addition to all short-story collections." - Booklist

"Jennifer Haigh's stories rove across time and cultures as easily as they render the tendernesses and longings and hardscrabble deprivations of home. News From Heaven is well-named, given that its unsentimental compassion and observational acuity...is just what we need right now." - Jim Shepard, author of Like You'd Understand, Anyway

"The characters in Jennifer Haigh's News From Heaven are so vividly drawn, the inner lives revealed so deftly, with such intelligence and sympathy, that fictional Bakerton, Pennsylvania, takes on the additional weight of, say, Winesburg, Ohio." - Richard Russo, Pulitzer Prize–winning author of Empire Falls

This information about News from Heaven was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. Publication information is for the USA, and (unless stated otherwise) represents the first print edition. 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 they do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, send us a message with the mainstream 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.

Reader Reviews

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Diane S.

News from Heaven
These are blue collared short stories, the lives of working men and woman, all set in the mining town of Bakerton. It is helpful but not necessary to have read book:Baker Towers|72876, many of the characters are here in these short stories. Stories that span the time frame of the beginning of the mines operations. the dying of the mines and the slow death of a town, which at one time had employed over nine-hundred men. It is the story of those who went away, some successful, others who were not and came back. A nostalgic look at a community long gone, who once lived in company housing and shopped in company stores. A community who married in VFW halls, and helped each other out, a community that knew each others neighbors, which was sometimes good and sometimes not. I loved this grouping of stories, they are real, they have life.

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Author Information

Jennifer Haigh Author Biography

Photo: Joanna Eldredge Morrissey

Jennifer Haigh is the author of the short-story collection News from Heaven and six bestselling and critically acclaimed novels, including Mrs. Kimble, Faith and Heat and Light, which was named a Best Book of 2016 by the New York Times, The Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal and NPR. Her books have won the PEN/Hemingway Award, the Massachusetts Book Award and the PEN New England Award in Fiction, and have been translated widely. She lives in New England.

Author Interview
Link to Jennifer Haigh's Website

Name Pronunciation
Jennifer Haigh: The h on the end is silent, so pronounced haig

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