One Heart: A Novel
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"You're given life, and certain people walk into it. Some make a small but deep impression, like a kid from your second grade class who shows up in your dream every three years. Others walk in and break your heart. You remember them every day. Very few people, maybe one, maybe none, stay with you for the long run. It's a kind of miracle if someone's with you for the long run. A kind of miracle..."
From the award-winning author of the acclaimed short story collection Director of the World comes this stunning debut novel--a charmingly poignant, razor sharp tale of two sisters and the depths and consequences of love that is reminiscent of the works of Anne Tyler, Louise Erdrich, and Barbara Kingsolver.
Gladys and Ivy are sisters, reluctant best friends who have depended upon each other through a shared lifetime marked by grief and loss, including the untimely deaths of Gladys's two children and the end of her passionate yet troubled marriage. While bonded by love and loneliness, the sisters remain divided by a wall of silence and pain that prevents Gladys from accepting the solace Ivy desperately needs to give.
Then one late April day, the pattern of their quiet lives is suddenly ruptured when a dark-eyes young woman with a mysterious past arrives on their doorstep. Quickly befriending Gladys, the intriguing Raelene convinces her to escape on a cross-country jaunt that will become a journey of discovery. Left to contend with the loss of her sister--and a surprise visit from Gladys's estranged husband--Ivy too will contemplate the frayed tapestry of her life and confront emotions long denied.
For Ivy and Gladys, however, personal transformation has just begun. Eventually reunited, the two must face searing truths about themselves, their past, and their relationship--soulful revelations that will ultimately bring them closer or hopelessly keep them apart.
Rich in character, language, and emotion, One Heart is a powerful, moving tale of family, friendship, forgiveness, and redemption--a remarkable achievement from an exquisitely talented new writer.
being “a laborer,” and said he was going to be a professional football player, they made a lot more money than “laborers,” did I know that? Didn’t I ever think of getting another job so I could drive a nicer car? “I never minded an old car,” I told him. “But you never know, someday I might go into law, or medicine.” “Definitely,” he said, “you definitely should. It’s not too late,” he coached. “Never too late to go after your dreams.” “Well, thank you,” I said, Nicoletta and I smiling at each
that cute? So Carmella’s got these damn twins. She hauls them up from Camden, New Jersey, to see Nadine for Easter time. Well, here’s what happened. Mel is just driving along. Driving along in her banged-up Futura. One of the twins looks up ahead and sees a little rabbit. A little brown rabbit by the side of the road. This little twin is named Leanne, by the way. Leanne and Stan are the twins’ names. ‘Look at the cute rabbit,’ Leanne says. So her mother says, ‘Honey, I think that’s the Easter
Maybe you can. If that’s your choice.” Then I left the room. Next thing I knew things got worse. Gladys with her face dark red and her green eyes on fire came out of her room yelling at me, “Just because you ran off and had a love affair with my husband doesn’t mean you got the goddamn answers to my life!” “He’s your ex-husband!” “What the hell difference does that make? You think you got all the answers now. You think you can march back in here and tell me I wasted my life! Maybe I got
father to put her in the basement. “All those people might have lost their children, Ivy, but they didn’t kill their children. They didn’t turn their backs and let their children drown.” “You made a mistake!” I said, and all the sudden I started crying when I said that. “Can’t you understand you made a human mistake?” Gladys looked down at her hands in her lap and wouldn’t look at me, and I kept crying and wishing she would cry too, wishing she would come over to my arms, but she didn’t move.
quite know why I felt it. Sometimes you all the sudden feel your heart pierced and you can’t say exactly why. Then James said, “How’s Ivy?” “Ivy’s fine. She lost her husband. It was hard on her. But she’s fine.” “Is she working, still?” “Still working. She has a lot of back pain, James, but you wouldn’t know it. This summer she burned her hand in the kitchen. It was after Brent died. She went and touched the dishes after they got out of the dishwasher. You know we got a