- Book: A Little Hope
- Location: Connecticut
- Author: Ethan Joella
This was our Book of the Month May 2022
This novel is set in a small community, focussing on the intersecting lives of chosen characters. In the run up to Christmas life is in full swing, but drama lurks beneath the surface. It is an everyday story of people getting on with their lives as best they can, even when challenges beset them. The author does not shy away from serious illness and death and there are the staples of betrayal, communication, addiction and simple human friendship and co-existence.
Greg has been diagnosed with cancer and worries how his wife Freddie and young daughter are going to cope. Freddie works for Darcy, who runs a dry cleaning agency and alterations service, who has lost her husband and whose son is battling addiction. These are just some of the interwoven lives that grace the pages of this novel. There are, of course, more characters who wonderfully colour this small city – it may be fictional but the lives played out here are universal and real – and beautifully observed.
The author has a wonderfully easy writing style (a natural storyteller), focussing on the people whose lives intersect in this Connecticut city. He imagines them with poignancy and acuity and he conjures up detail with whimsy and assured expression, so the characters speak not only to each other but to the reader.
This is a surprising page-turner, with this is stellar and gentle storytelling. it is a writing style that for me is synomymous with North American writers, a kind of gentler observation that relies more on the writing to carry it along than a punchy narrative.