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The Resource Saints for all occasions, J. Courtney Sullivan

Saints for all occasions, J. Courtney Sullivan

Label
Saints for all occasions
Title
Saints for all occasions
Statement of responsibility
J. Courtney Sullivan
Creator
Author
Subject
Genre
Language
eng
Tone
Writing style
Character
Award
LibraryReads Favorites, 2017
Review
  • On a terrible night in 2009, Nora Rafferty is woken with the news that her eldest son, Patrick, has died in a car crash, likely the result of his own drunken driving. In a haze of grief and rage, she telephones her long-estranged sister—a cloistered nun—and leaves a message informing her of his death. Sullivan’s fourth novel is a quietly devastating look at the power a secret, in this case the secret of Patrick himself, can wield over an entire family for generations. The story jumps through time, from the 1957 arrival of sisters Nora and Theresa Flynn from Ireland to the present, each part narrated by a different member of the family, elegantly woven together to form a more complete, if not quite intact, picture of how the consequences of choices made by Nora and Theresa 50 years earlier came to define not only the two of them but each of Nora’s now-grown children, who love and loathe their mother in equal measure. Sullivan once again expertly delivers a messy and complicated family story with sharp yet sympathetic writing. -- Szwarek, Magan (Reviewed 3/15/2017) (Booklist, vol 113, number 14, p20)
  • Sisters Nora and Theresa Flynn leave their home in Ireland for a new life in 1958 Boston. Each adjusts to life in America in her own way. Steady Nora watches younger Theresa, until choices made by each woman drive the sisters apart. We follow the story from 1958 to contemporary New England, Ireland, and New York, exploring how siblings and children relate to their parents and each other as they age. Novels about Irish immigrant families and their American descendants are a weakness of mine and the way this story unfolds from everyone's perspectives is very satisfying! -- Trisha Rigsby, Deerfield Public Library, Deerfield, WI. (LibraryReads, May 2017)
  • Sullivan’s (The Engagements) latest is the story of Rafferty family matriarch Nora, her estranged sister, Theresa, and the secrets that an Irish Catholic upbringing led them to keep from their children. After leaving Ireland for Boston in the late ’50s, the effervescent Theresa finds herself pregnant by a married man. Dour Nora agrees to care for baby Patrick as her own. Theresa moves to New York and pursues a career as a teacher before going into convent life, eventually becoming Mother Cecilia. Charismatic Patrick dies in 2009 after a life of drinking and letting his temper get the best of him. His overachieving brother John is agonizing about whether he’s somehow responsible for Patrick’s death after a revelation about the role of the politician John works for in an incident from Patrick’s childhood. Their sister, Bridget, is resentful that Nora refuses to acknowledge her relationship with girlfriend Natalie, who will soon have a baby. Brian, the youngest, is living with Nora after a failed career in baseball. Patrick’s funeral leads to a surprise visit from Theresa, much to Nora’s chagrin. Sullivan has a gift for capturing complicated sibling dynamics, especially in a family ruled by Catholic repression. Nora is imprisoned by the need to avoid shame and being the subject of gossip. In contrast, Theresa allows her religion to free her by letting it influence her life. Nora’s need for secrecy builds walls between John and Patrick, though Theresa’s presence might finally reveal all. Sullivan’s quiet ending is a satisfying conclusion to this rich, well-crafted story. 75,000-copy announced first printing. (May) --Staff (Reviewed 03/27/2017) (Publishers Weekly, vol 264, issue 13, p)
  • Patrick is dead, a victim of his own drunk driving. His mother, Nora, stoically delivers the bad news to Patrick's siblings and makes the arrangements for a traditional Irish wake and funeral. She also calls her sister, Theresa, a nun living in a convent in New Hampshire, and steels herself to reveal the family secret she has been hiding for 50 years. Then the story line jumps back to Nora's immigration with Theresa from Ireland to Boston in 1957. Nora is not sure she wants to continue with the plans that brought her to America, but the young and naïve Theresa is eager to start her new life. When Theresa discovers that she is pregnant, Nora devises a plan to save her reputation, with the consequences revealed in scenes that alternate between past and present. VERDICT Best-selling author Sullivan (Commencement) brings her characters to life, capturing the complexities and nuances of family, tradition, and kept secrets. For all fiction readers. [See Prepub Alert,1/4/17.]—Joanna Burkhardt, Univ. of Rhode Island Libs., Providence --Joanna Burkhardt (Reviewed 02/15/2017) (Library Journal, vol 142, issue 3, p84)
  • Of Catholic guilt, silences, and secrets: an expertly spun family drama, a genre Sullivan (The Engagements, 2013, etc.) has staked out as her own.Theresa and Nora, Irish sisters, have long since parted company, the break an event that neither has spoken of for half a century. Now, as Sullivan's latest opens, Nora's son Patrick has died, and as the family comes together to see him off, long-hidden secrets are unveiled. A whole constellation of them swirls around Theresa, explained away as "nothing more to Patrick than a distant aunt." But how to explain the truth? How to make up for all the choppy water that has passed between the two sisters, separated by an unbridged Atlantic? How to forgive one another? Sullivan lets some of the critical details out early: Patrick was a drinker, and he died in a drunken car wreck. Theresa was a religious whiz kid, more Catholic than the pope; quizzed by the bishop, she reels off doctrine to the letter, prompting the cleric to say to her father, "You've got a very bright child there. Are all your others as sharp as that?" The answer, "Heavens no. We don't know where she came from," speaks volumes about the story that will follow, though for all her knowledge, no one really expects Theresa to wind up in the nunnery, torn up by the more or less ordinary events of adolescence and given to saying "a string of novenas for forgiveness" for her perfectly excusable transgressions—excusable now, of course, but not then, and not in the Ireland of the girls' youth. Sullivan is a master at making a sideways glance or a revealed detail add to a larger picture that she takes her time in building, one that might just as easily bear as its title a wise remark in passing: "Loving and knowing weren't the same."Sullivan often approaches melodrama, but she steers clear of the sentimentality that might easily have crept into this tale of regret and nostalgia.(Kirkus Reviews, April 15, 2017)
http://library.link/vocab/ext/novelist/bookUI
10562270
Cataloging source
DLC
http://library.link/vocab/creatorName
Sullivan, J. Courtney
Index
no index present
LC call number
PS3619.U43
LC item number
S25 2017
Literary form
fiction
http://library.link/vocab/resourcePreferred
True
http://library.link/vocab/subjectName
  • Sisters
  • Irish in the United States
  • Teenage pregnancy
  • Nuns
  • Mothers
  • Immigrants
  • Family secrets
  • Life change events
  • Consequences
  • Loss (Psychology)
  • Family relationships
  • Boston, Massachusetts
Label
Saints for all occasions, J. Courtney Sullivan
Instantiates
Publication
Carrier category
volume
Carrier category code
  • nc
Carrier MARC source
rdacarrier
Content category
text
Content type code
  • txt
Content type MARC source
rdacontent
Dimensions
25 cm
Edition
First edition.
Extent
335 pages
Isbn
9780307959577
Isbn Type
(hbk.)
Lccn
2016048931
Media category
unmediated
Media MARC source
rdamedia
Media type code
  • n
Label
Saints for all occasions, J. Courtney Sullivan
Publication
Carrier category
volume
Carrier category code
  • nc
Carrier MARC source
rdacarrier
Content category
text
Content type code
  • txt
Content type MARC source
rdacontent
Dimensions
25 cm
Edition
First edition.
Extent
335 pages
Isbn
9780307959577
Isbn Type
(hbk.)
Lccn
2016048931
Media category
unmediated
Media MARC source
rdamedia
Media type code
  • n

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