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About Jennifer Haigh
Jennifer Haigh's first novel, MRS. KIMBLE, won the PEN/Hemingway Award for debut fiction. She went on to write the Bakerton trilogy, which traces the life of a Pennsylvania coal mining town: BAKER TOWERS, winner of the PEN/L.L. Winship Award for outstanding book by a New England author; the short story collection NEWS FROM HEAVEN, winner of the Massachusetts Book Award and the PEN/New England Award in Fiction; and HEAT AND LIGHT, named a Best Book of 2016 by The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal and NPR. Her Boston novels include THE CONDITION, the story of a girl growing up with Turner's Syndrome; FAITH, which explores the effects of the clergy sex abuse scandal on a local priest and his family; and the forthcoming MERCY STREET, available on February 1, 2022.
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Books By Jennifer Haigh
Whatever had been going on inside the shuttered old house, the couple who lived there kept it to themselves. Among the locals, there’s only chilling speculation.
Neighbors are shocked when Harold Pardee reports his wife dead. No one even knew the eccentric TV repairman was married. Within hours, horrible rumors spread about what that poor woman must have endured for thirty years. Until the Pardees’ carefully guarded world is exposed. New York Times bestselling author Jennifer Haigh delivers an endearing short story about our misguided perception of strangers, the nature of love, and the need for secrets.
Jennifer Haigh’s Zenith Man is part of Inheritance, a collection of five stories about secrets, unspoken desires, and dangerous revelations between loved ones. Each piece can be read or listened to in a single setting. By yourself, behind closed doors, or shared with someone you trust.
Bakerton is a community of company houses and church festivals, of union squabbles and firemen's parades. Its neighborhoods include Little Italy, Swedetown, and Polish Hill. For its tight-knit citizens -- and the five children of the Novak family -- the 1940s will be a decade of excitement, tragedy, and stunning change. Baker Towers is a family saga and a love story, a hymn to a time and place long gone, to America's industrial past, and to the men and women we now call the Greatest Generation. It is a feat of imagination from an extraordinary voice in American fiction, a writer of enormous power and skill.
The award-winning debut novel from Jennifer Haigh, author of BakerTowers, The Condition, and Faith, tells the story of Birdie, Joan,and Dinah, three women who marry the same charismatic, predatory, and enigmaticopportunist: Ken Kimble. Resonating with emotional intensity and narrativeinnovation reminiscent of Ann Patchett’s Bel Canto, Barbara Kingsolver’s The Poisonwood Bible, and Zora Neale Hurston’s TheirEyes Were Watching God, Haigh’s Mrs. Kimble is a timeless story ofgrief, passion, heartache, deception, and the complex riddle of love.
“Ms. Haigh is an expertly nuanced storyteller long overdue for major attention. Her work is gripping, real, and totally immersive, akin to that of writers as different as Richard Price, Richard Ford, and Richard Russo.”—Janet Maslin, New York Times
The highly praised, “extraordinary” (New York Times Book Review) novel about the disparate lives that intersect at a women’s clinic in Boston, by New York Times bestselling author Jennifer Haigh
For almost a decade, Claudia has counseled patients at Mercy Street, a clinic in the heart of the city. The work is consuming, the unending dramas of women in crisis. For its patients, Mercy Street offers more than health care; for many, it is a second chance.
But outside the clinic, the reality is different. Anonymous threats are frequent. A small, determined group of anti-abortion demonstrators appears each morning at its door. As the protests intensify, fear creeps into Claudia’s days, a humming anxiety she manages with frequent visits to Timmy, an affable pot dealer in the midst of his own existential crisis. At Timmy’s, she encounters a random assortment of customers, including Anthony, a lost soul who spends most of his life online, chatting with the mysterious Excelsior11—the screenname of Victor Prine, an anti-abortion crusader who has set his sights on Mercy Street and is ready to risk it all for his beliefs.
Mercy Street is a novel for right now, a story of the polarized American present. Jennifer Haigh, “an expert natural storyteller with a keen sense of her characters’ humanity” (New York Times), has written a groundbreaking novel, a fearless examination of one of the most divisive issues of our time.
"We have the intriguing possibility that the nextgreat American author is already in print." —Fort Worth Star-Telegram
When Sheila McGann setsout to redeem her disgraced brother, a once-beloved Catholic priest in suburbanBoston, her quest will force her to confront cataclysmic truths about herfractured Irish-American family, her beliefs, and, ultimately, herself.Award-winning author Jennifer Haigh follows hercritically acclaimed novels Mrs. Kimbleand The Condition with a captivating,vividly rendered portrait of fraying family ties, and the trials of belief anddevotion, in Faith.
The next morning, Tim’s bed is empty. His mother assumes he spent the night out getting drunk with friends, but when she still hasn’t heard from him, she calls the police. The cops begin investigating everyone who knew him, uncovering secrets about the town and its inhabitants. In the wake of Tim’s disappearance, the community must reckon with their feelings of guilt and indifference as the facade of their quaint little town begins to crumble. They’re desperate for answers, but do they really want the truth?
THE BOY VANISHES captures both a moment in time and a larger American ethos. Jennifer Haigh, “a gifted chronicler of the human condition” (Washington Post), has crafted an immersive and devastating story about personal and collective loss, complicity and ignorance, and the disillusionment of an entire town.
Acclaimed New York Times bestselling author Jennifer Haigh returns to the Pennsylvania town at the center of her iconic novel Baker Towers in this ambitious, achingly human story of modern America and the conflicting forces at its heart—a bold, moving drama of hope and desperation, greed and power, big business and small-town families.
Forty years ago, Bakerton coal fueled the country. Then the mines closed, and the town wore away like a bar of soap. Now Bakerton has been granted a surprise third act: it sits squarely atop the Marcellus Shale, a massive deposit of natural gas.
To drill or not to drill? Prison guard Rich Devlin leases his mineral rights to finance his dream of farming. He doesn’t count on the truck traffic and nonstop noise, his brother’s skepticism or the paranoia of his wife, Shelby, who insists the water smells strange and is poisoning their frail daughter. Meanwhile his neighbors, organic dairy farmers Mack and Rena, hold out against the drilling—until a passionate environmental activist disrupts their lives.
Told through a cast of characters whose lives are increasingly bound by the opposing interests that underpin the national debate, Heat and Light depicts a community blessed and cursed by its natural resources. Soaring and ambitious, it zooms from drill rig to shareholders’ meeting to the Three Mile Island nuclear reactor to the ruined landscape of the “strippins,” haunting reminders of Pennsylvania’s past energy booms. This is a dispatch from a forgotten America—a work of searing moral clarity from one of the finest writers of her generation, a courageous and necessary book.
In the summer of 1976, during their annual retreat on Cape Cod, the McKotch family came apart. Now, twenty years after daughter Gwen was diagnosed with Turner's syndrome—a rare genetic condition that keeps her trapped forever in the body of a child—eminent scientist Frank McKotch is divorced from his pedigreed wife, Paulette. Eldest son Billy, a successful cardiologist, lives a life built on secrets and compromise. His brother Scott awakened from a pot-addled adolescence to a soul-killing job and a regrettable marriage. And Gwen—bright and accomplished but hermetic and emotionally aloof—spurns all social interaction until, well into her thirties, she falls in love for the first time. With compassion and almost painful astuteness, The Condition explores the power of family mythologies—the self-delusions, denials, and inescapable truths that forever bind fathers and mothers and siblings.
Acclaimed writer Jennifer Haigh guest-edits this poetry and prose issue of Ploughshares. As Haigh writes in her introduction, “By training or habit or simply natural inclination, the writer of literature is sensitive to invisible currents in the culture. We are made of porous stuff, highly absorbent. The writer is the box of baking soda at the back of the refrigerator, absorbing whatever is ambient.” With new poetry from Kaveh Akbar and Matthew Lippman, nonfiction from Vendela Vida, and fiction from Smith Henderson, Kristen Iskandrian, and Jess Walter, the work in this issue grapples with the current cultural environment.
The issue is dedicated to Thomas Lux (1946-2017), a guest editor and longtime friend of Ploughshares, and a former Poet-in-Residence of Emerson College.
Bakerton im ländlichen Pennsylvania hat schon bessere Zeiten gesehen. Die einst blühende Region ist durch den Niedergang von Kohle und Stahl schwer gezeichnet. Ist es da Segen oder Fluch, dass ein Energiekonzern den verarmten Landbesitzern plötzlich das große Geld verspricht? Naivität und Gier, Hysterie und blinder Aktivismus, Ehekrisen und unverhoffte neue Allianzen – der Erdgas-Boom bringt die kleine eingeschworene
Gemeinschaft aus den Fugen.
Mit großer Zuneigung zu ihren Figuren zeichnet Jennifer Haigh das Ringen ganz normaler Menschen um wirtschaftlichen Wohlstand und moralische Verantwortung – und gleichzeitig ein großartiges Porträt der amerikanischen Gesellschaft.
"Haigh gelingt es, ein fast liebevolles Bild jenes Amerika zu zeichnen, über das wir seit der Wahl von Donald Trump so viel wissen möchten." Deutschlandfunk Kultur
Acclaimed novelist and short-story writer Jean Thompson (The Year We Left Home) guest-edits this issue of prose and poetry. As she writes in her introduction, "The thing that gives me hope for the enterprise of writing is the incredible variety and vigor of the terrain." With poets ranging from Erin Belieu to the Uruguayan Tatiana Orono, and stories that move from the eerie (Peter Rock's dreamlike story of a mysterious stalker, "Go-Between") to the comic (Elizabeth McCracken's story "Hungry," about an overweight young girl) to the tragic (Dan Chaon's "What Happened to Us," about a family transformed by fostering a disturbed child), Thompson's issue celebrates writers as they “grapple or dance with the world we live in, reflect or distort it, embrace or escape it.”
The issue also features Jesse Lee Kercheval's Plan B essay about learning to play the accordion ("Welcome to Hell"), and an exploration of Italo Calvino's Invisible Cities by John Domini.
"The Rink Girl," by Mark Brazaitis
"What Happened to Us," by Dan Chaon
"The Meat Place," by Kim Chinquee
"The Sky in the Glass-Topped Table," by Elizabeth Evans
"Sublimation," by Jennifer Haigh
"A Christmas Letter," by Robert Hellenga
"Hungry," by Elizabeth McCracken
"Go-Between," by Peter Rock
"Seizure," by Donna Trump
"Nature Walk," by Stephen Dau
Rebecca Morgan Frank
Sarah Rose Nordgren
"Welcome to Hell," a Plan B essay by Jesse Lee Kercheval
"Chessboard & Cornucopia: Forty Years of Invisible Cities," a Look2 essay on Italo Calvino by John Domini
Alice Hoffman Prize for Fiction Winner Elise Juska
In News from Heaven, Jennifer Haigh—bestselling author of Faith and The Condition—returns to the territory of her acclaimed novel Baker Towers with a collection of short stories set in and around the fictionalized coal-mining town of Bakerton, Pennsylvania.
Exploring themes of restlessness, regret, redemption and acceptance, Jennifer Haigh depicts men and women of different generations shaped by dreams and haunted by disappointments.
Janet Maslin of the New York Times has called Haigh's Bakerton stories "utterly, entrancingly alive on the page," comparable to Richard Russo's Empire Falls.