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Elsey Come Home

Elsey Come Home by Susan Conley
Hardcover
Jan 15, 2019 | 256 Pages
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    Jan 15, 2019 | 256 Pages

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    Jan 15, 2019 | 256 Pages

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Praise

“In this intricate, delicate-as-rice-paper novel, an American painter living in Beijing and trying to clean up her act at a yoga retreat makes gains in fits and starts, ‘a butterfly, flitting from leaf to leaf.’”—Michelle Hart and Hamilton Cain, O Magazine
 
Elsey Come Home is a smart, wry, and immersive coming-of-middle-age story of growth and womanhood.”—Elizabeth Entenman, HelloGiggles “Best New Books to Read This Week”
 
“Beautifully written. . . . The intriguing descriptions of life in China are a reminder that Americans, like people of other nations, sometimes emigrate and make their home elsewhere. In the end then, this is a thought-provoking novel.”Washington Times
 
“A surprising gem of a book”—Emma Snyder, WBJC Maryland


“Described as ‘perfect’ by Judy Blume herself, Susan Conley’s new novel follows Elsey, a woman living in Beijing struggling to reconcile her identities as painter, mother, expat, individual, and wife. When the novel opens, Elsey is drinking heavily and descending rapidly into misery. Her husband suggests she take part in a retreat, where she meets a handful of strangers who change her life. It’s a necessary look at the identity crisis women can face when the world forces them into boxes.” Marie Claire

“Elsey used to be a recognized painter, but now she’s the wife of expat Danish musician Lukas and the mother of two girls under 10, and she’s tethered to their home in China. As the slim novel opens, she’s depressed and lost and in crisis; at Lukas’ insistence, she leaves the family for a weeklong retreat that will end up transforming her. Even within a few paragraphs of this exploration of motherhood and individuality, Elsey’s voice and emotional turbulence leap off the page.” The Huffington Post
 
“A former successful painter is forced to take a hard look at her life when her husband hands her—along with a silent ultimatum—a brochure for a weeklong mountain retreat.” Washington Independent Review of Books 

“Probing questions about how to balance motherhood, a career, marriage, and a drinking problem resonate throughout Conley’s excellent novel . . . [Elsey Come Home is] an honest and astute depiction of the human psyche.” Publishers Weekly (starred)
 
“Conley’s slim novel illustrates the power of storytelling as a process for healing. What entices and endures here is the voice: dreamy, meditative, hypnotic, and very real.” Kirkus

“I loved Elsey Come Home. The exotic setting, the characters Elsey meets along the way—her husband, her little girls, her dilemma. And the writing, spare and lovely. What more can I say—perfect.” —Judy Blume, author of In the Unlikely Event

“Elsey Come Home is a delicious read, vivid and delicately wrought, and so very prescient with regard to the mother-child bond that it’s almost eerie. I kept finding myself thinking, how did she know? and how did she find the words? An engrossing, moving meditation on family, loss, creativity, secrets, culture, and the bonds that hold our lives together against the odds.” —Carolina De Robertis, author of The Gods of Tango
 
“Elsey’s voice is a triumph. It sings. The writing is exquisite and tells the story of someone who has lost herself to the point that the pain in her life threatens to divide her from the people she loves most. There is so much at stake here, and even the small moments resonate. I loved, loved this novel.” —Lily King, author of Euphoria

“What a quirky little gem of a book Susan Conley has written. I’m still trying to figure out how she created a character so seemingly lost to herself without losing me in the process. There’s genuine alchemy here.” —Richard Russo      
 
“Susan Conley’s voice is so intimate and filled with such exquisite detail it was as if a friend was whispering Elsey Come Home in my ear. While Elsey is a character hemmed in by her own flaws and misgivings, her author is the opposite, showering us with emotional nuance and gorgeous writing that make this novel a showcase of modern domesticity with all its unpredictable complexities and triumphs. Anyone who has ever felt separate and finally comes together will find himself or herself in Elsey Come Home.” —Betsy Carter, author of We Were Strangers Once

Elsey Come Home is a triumph, a book of powerful women and even more powerful tradition. Contemporary China comes vividly to life alongside American friendships, family, and fortune good and badlove and illness, pleasure and addiction, connection and misunderstanding, brittle trips back home. I love Susan Conley’s sentencesspare but lyrical, hard-edged but melodic, not a word extra, a story so big no Talking Circle could ever contain it.” —Bill Roorbach, author of The Remedy of Love and The Girl of the Lake
 
Elsey Come Home is a thing of wonder and beauty, a novel about faraway places, both internal and external. I read this in one thirsty gulp, and through its window was shown certain truths about the joy, pain, and intricacy of marriage, and of being. Susan Conley is a magical writer; this book is her magic.” —Mike Paterniti, author of The Telling Room
 
“I love Elseyher vulnerability, and self-awareness, and her love for her daughters, which permeates the novel. This book is lush with colors, smells, and sounds, and has a compulsive, deeply gratifying shape. We’re allowed to witness Elsey in all her glory, even when she’s unable to see herself clearly.” —Lewis Robinson, author of Water Dogs

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