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Praise for St. Ivo
“From the very first sentences of St. Ivo, I felt certain I was in good hands. What happens when we can no longer communicate with the people we know best? What happens when what was once fluent between two people becomes indecipherable? Not a tender novel, exactly, though there is tenderness in these pages. In St. Ivo Joanna Hershon paints a portrait of grief, of survival, but also of hope. Anyone who has ever loved fiercely, desperately, will devour this story, as I did. The effect here is cumulative and I found myself reading the final pages with the book gripped in both hands.”—Mary Beth Keane, author of Ask Again, Yes
“St. Ivo is a wise and revealing book, full of elegant menace—a novel whose tensions threaten to break its surface on every page. But Hershon is a master of control, showing us patiently, and with rich verisimilitude, how a parent’s love for an estranged child persists despite separation and silence; how longtime friendships hurt and heal; and how loss compels us to know ourselves, much as we might wish to look away.”—Julie Orringer, author of The Flight Portfolio
“An elegant, suspenseful gem of a novel. I admired the crisp writing and intelligent depictions of people, but more than that I needed to know what was going to happen next—I devoured it in a weekend.”—Adelle Waldman, author of The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P.
About St. Ivo
It’s the end of summer when we meet Sarah, the end of summer and the middle of her life, the middle of her career (she hopes it’s not the end), the middle of her marriage (recently repaired). And despite the years that have passed since she last saw her daughter, she is still very much in the middle of figuring out what happened to Leda, what role she played, and how she will let that loss affect the rest of her life.
Enter a mysterious stranger on a train, an older man taking the subway to Brooklyn who sees right into her.Then a mugging, her phone stolen, and with it any last connection to Leda. And then an invitation, friends from the past and a weekend in the country with their new, unexpected baby.
Over the course of three hot September days, the two couples try to reconnect. Events that have been set in motion, circumstances and feelings kept hidden, rise to the surface, forcing each to ask not just how they ended up where they are, but how they ended up who they are.
Unwinding like a suspense novel, Joanna Hershon's St. Ivo is a powerful investigation into the meaning of choice and family, whether we ever know the people closest to us, and how, when someone goes missing from our lives, we can ever let them go.
Praise for Everything is Under Control
“What a beautiful, rich, and poetic memoir this is. Phyllis Grant writes of longing, suffering, celebration, family, and food with such delicate power. Like the best chefs, she knows how to make a masterpiece from a few simple ingredients: truth, taste, poignancy, and love. This is a wonderful book.” —Elizabeth Gilbert, author of City of Girls and Eat, Pray, Love
“Phyllis Grant has the voice of a poet and the sensuality of a cook. This very brave book makes you want to experience the world with equal intensity. As for the recipes ... completely irresistible.” —Ruth Reichl, author of Save Me the Plums
“How do we locate ourselves in time? In our families? Within the intricacies of our own appetites? With raw candor and discipline, Phyllis Grant peels back the layers of her innermost experience and gives us a memoir as rich and nuanced, as delicate as life itself.” —Dani Shapiro, author of Inheritance
About Everything is Under Control
Phyllis Grant’s Everything Is Under Control is a memoir about appetite as it comes, goes, and refocuses its object of desire. Grant’s story follows the sometimes smooth, sometimes jagged, always revealing contours of her life: from her days as a dancer struggling to find her place at Julliard, to her experiences in and out of four-star kitchens in New York City, to falling in love with her future husband and leaving the city after 9/11 for California, where her children are born. All the while, a sense of longing pulses in each stage as she moves through the headspace of a young woman longing to be sustained by a city into that of a mother now sustaining a family herself.
Written with the transparency of a diarist, Everything Is Under Control is an unputdownable series of vignettes followed by tried-and-true recipes from Grant’s table—a heartrending yet unsentimental portrait of the highs and lows of young adulthood, motherhood, and a life in the kitchen.
"Hershon maintains a quiet terror throughout this slim, eccentric novel. . . Fiction full of complexity, devoted to reality. And in the end, a larger sense of purpose crashes down in a satisfying burst."
--Danya Kukafka, The New York Times Book Review
"In epigrammatic, nearly poetic diction, Grant . . . reminds us of how transformative the junctures where food and life collide can be." --The New York Times Book Review