Now, in this collection of interconnected short stories, Jennifer Haigh returns to the vividly imagined world of Bakerton, Pennsylvania, a coal mining town rocked by decades of painful transition. From its heyday during two World Wars through its slow decline, Bakerton is a town that refuses to give up gracefully, binding—sometimes cruelly—succeeding generations to the place that made them. A young woman glimpses a world both strange and familiar when she becomes a live-in maid for a Jewish family in New York City. A long-absent brother makes a sudden and tragic homecoming. A solitary middle-aged woman tastes unexpected love when a young man returns to town. With a revolving cast of characters—many familiar to fans of Baker Towers—these stories explore how our roots, the families and places in which we are raised, shape the people we eventually become.
News from Heaven looks unflinchingly at the conflicting human desires for escape and for connection, and explores the enduring hold of home.
“This collection of short stories shows depth, understanding and compassion. . . . Haigh’s narratives are beautifully realized stories of heartbreak, of qualified love, and of economic as well as personal depression.”
-Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“Jennifer Haigh’s stories rove across time and cultures as easily as they render the tendernesses and longings and hardscrabble deprivations of home. NEWS FROM HEAVEN is well-named, given that its unsentimental compassion and observational acuity. . . is just what we need right now.”
-Jim Shepard, author of Like You'd Understand, Anyway
“The characters in Jennifer Haigh’s NEWS FROM HEAVEN are so vividly drawn, the inner lives revealed so deftly, with such intelligence and sympathy, that fictional Bakerton, Pennsylvania, takes on the additional weight of, say, Winesburg, Ohio.”
-Richard Russo, Pulitzer Prize–winning author of Empire Falls
“Jennifer Haigh has accomplished what James Joyce did in Dubliners and Sherwood Anderson in Winesburg, Ohio: render a place with such exactitude the landscape, character, and fate are inextricably linked. One of America’s finest novelists, Haigh is now one of our finest short story writers as well.”
-bestselling author Ron Rash