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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"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 Prizewinning author of Empire Falls
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Jennifer Haigh is a novelist and short story writer. She was born in 1968 in Barnesboro, a Western Pennsylvania coal town 85 miles northeast of Pittsburgh in Cambria County. She attended Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania and earned a Master of Fine Arts degree from the Iowa Writers' Workshop in 2002.
Her fiction has been published in Granta, Ploughshares, The Virginia Quarterly Review, Good Housekeeping, and many other publications. Haigh lives in Boston.
Her first book, Mrs. Kimble, won the 2004 PEN/Hemingway Award for debut fiction. Her second, Baker Towers, was a New York Times bestseller and won the 2006 PEN/L.L. Winship Award for outstanding book by a New England author. Both have been published in nine languages.
Her more recent works are The Condition (2008), Faith (...
Jennifer Haigh: The h on the end is silent, so pronounced haig
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