Did You Ever Have a Family (Paperback)
This. Is. Beautiful.
Long-listed for the Man Booker Prize, this book primarily follows June, a woman who loses her boyfriend, her daughter, her daughter's fiancé, and her ex-husband in a fire. The reader probes her grief by hearing both June's story and through hearing about June from perspectives of characters she interacts with. With many of these other perspectives, Clegg includes their own experiences with loss, linking the web of characters through the universality of death. Disclaimer: You will cry, so be ready for that inevitability if you read it in public.
-- Cody— From Cody M. Staff Picks
The narrative throughout this book kept me hooked. This is a beautiful, multi-story novel that is so well done that you cry. I sighed a huge sigh after finishing and gently placed the book down as if it were a baby. The amazing part of this is that I read the ARC of this novel. I can only imagine how beautiful the published version must be with corrections and additions. If you loved Margaret Atwood's The Blind Assassin, you'll love this even more.
-- Josh— From Josh H. Staff Picks
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER - LONGLISTED FOR THE NATIONAL BOOK AWARD, MAN BOOKER PRIZE, PEN/ROBERT W. BINGHAM PRIZE, AND ANDREW CARNEGIE MEDAL FOR EXCELLENCE - AN ALA NOTABLE BOOK - Library Journal - Booklist - NPR - Kirkus Reviews - Guardian - St. Louis Post-Dispatch - Literary Hub - Powell's - Indie Next List Hailed as "masterly" by The New York Times Book Review, "a brilliantly constructed debut set in the aftermath of catastrophic loss" (2015 Man Booker Prize Judges). The stunning debut novel from bestselling author Bill Clegg is a magnificently powerful story about a circle of people who find solace in the least likely of places as they cope with a horrific tragedy. On the eve of her daughter's wedding, June Reid's life is upended when a shocking disaster takes the lives of her daughter, her daughter's fianc , her ex-husband, and her boyfriend, Luke--her entire family, all gone in a moment. June is the only survivor. Alone and directionless, June drives across the country, away from her small Connecticut town. In her wake, a community emerges, weaving a beautiful and surprising web of connections through shared heartbreak. From the couple running a motel on the Pacific Ocean where June eventually settles into a quiet half-life, to the wedding's caterer whose bill has been forgotten, to Luke's mother, the shattered outcast of the town--everyone touched by the tragedy is changed as truths about their near and far histories finally come to light. Elegant and heartrending, and one of the most accomplished fiction debuts of the year, Did You Ever Have a Family is an absorbing, unforgettable tale that reveals humanity at its best through forgiveness and hope. At its core is a celebration of family--the ones we are born with and the ones we create.