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A penetrating and powerful novel about the deep undercurrents of love and regret in one Midwestern family.
Margaret Maguire—a widow and grandmother, home from the hospital in time for Christmas—is no longer able to ignore the consequences of having married an imperious and arrogant man. Despite her efforts to be a good wife and mother in small-town Iowa, her adult children are now strangers to one another, past hope of reconciliation. Margaret’s granddaughter could be the one to break the cycle, but she can’t do it without Margaret’s help. It’s time to take stock, to examine the past—even time for Margaret to call herself to account.
By turns tenacious and tender, contrary and wry, Margaret examines her life’s tragedies and joys, motivations and choices, coming to view herself and the past with compassion, if not entirely with forgiveness. Beautifully rendered and poignantly told, Evensong is an indelible portrait of a woman searching for tranquility at the end of her days.
About the Author
Kate Southwood is the author of Falling to Earth and Evensong. Her articles and essays have appeared in the New York Times, the Christian Science Monitor, and the Huffington Post, among others. She lives in Oslo, Norway.
Kate Southwood performs a series of literary miracles. Evensong is a novel that both expands and compresses a life, that lays bare and embellishes it. The story is as specific as an intimate memory whispered by a person to herself, and as universal as the ongoingness of life itself. There were a few times I gasped at the beauty of the prose; there were many more times I underlined passages to go back and relish again. Truly, this is literature at its best. I loved this book.
— Elizabeth Berg, author of The Dream Lover and The Story of Arthur Truluv
As a woman looks back on a single, faulty decision that marred the course of her days, Kate Southwood’s Evensong breaks open an ordinary life to dazzling effect. Musical in its rhythms, brimming with yearning and regret, this is a novel that continually surprises, reminding us that our passions, our fates—our very names—can be irrevocably changed by the simple turn of a head.
— Michelle Hoover, author of The Quickening and Bottomland
Kate Southwood writes as beautifully about the grit and poetry of daily life as she does about the lies we tell each other and ourselves. In its gentle but insistent urge toward knowledge, Evensong shines a light into the dark.
— Elizabeth Graver, author of The End of the Point
In Evensong, Kate Southwood has given us a novel filled with an epic life, that of a woman whose fierce and vivid memories encompass a truly American story of mothers, daughters, the struggle for love and independence, the way women fight to keep their true selves when the world tries to etch them away. Unforgettable.
— Susan Straight, author of Between Heaven and Here and Highwire Moon
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