Saturday, February 14, 2015

Fresh Ink: Spotlight on Debut Books of All Kinds

The debut novel everyone is talking about... “The last page is as satisfying as the first.”(Kathryn Stockett) “I really loved this book... I can't praise it enough.” (Anne Rice) “It's a book to read and reread, one that will only get better with time.”(Tom Franklin) 
 It was the summer everything changed.…  
My Sunshine Away unfolds in a Baton Rouge neighborhood best known for cookouts on sweltering summer afternoons, cauldrons of spicy crawfish, and passionate football fandom. But in the summer of 1989, when fifteen-year-old Lindy Simpson—free spirit, track star, and belle of the block—experiences a horrible crime late one evening near her home, it becomes apparent that this idyllic stretch of Southern suburbia has a dark side, too.

In My Sunshine Away, M.O. Walsh brilliantly juxtaposes the enchantment of a charmed childhood with the gripping story of a violent crime, unraveling families, and consuming adolescent love. Acutely wise and deeply honest, it is an astonishing and page-turning debut about the meaning of family, the power of memory, and our ability to forgive. 

Praise for the book: 
"M.O. Walsh has written one of the best books I've read in a long while. An outstanding examination of our past and the way the weight of our memories shapes us, My Sunshine Away, thanks to Walsh's verve and total control of the narrative, feels utterly original."
~Kevin Wilson, author of The Family Fang

"The magic of My Sunshine Away is in M.O. Walsh’s extraordinary ability to make us long for the heartache of youth and its inevitable sins. This is an awe-inspiring debut." ~Hannah Pittard, author of Reunion

"Q: When is it a thrill to feel gutted? A: When you start reading the book you hold in your hands. M. O. Walsh's My Sunshine Away reminds us that art can be wrenching and a delight, that pain -- if examined through wit, intimacy, and wisdom -- can be a salve. This novel is great."~Darin Strauss, author of Half a Life

"If I were asked to list the qualities the ideal novel would offer, I'd start by demanding beautiful sentences. I'd want the opening to grab me and I'd want the ending to refuse to let go. I'd ask for characters who consistently surprise by being somehow deeper and less predictable than we could ever have guessed they'd be. I'd want Place to be written with a capital P. I'd want a mystery at the heart of story, and a mystery or two in every heart. And when I finished reading the book, I'd want to be both wiser and sadder than when I started. M. O. Walsh's magnificent novel My Sunshine Away afforded me all these pleasures and more. This is one of the best novels I've read in ages." ~Steve Yarbrough, author of Safe from the Neighbors

"If you start this novel, you will not put it down. My Sunshine Away is a riveting, suspenseful and page turning mystery. it is also a wise, insightful, and beautifully written novel. This is an extraordinary debut." ~Jill McCorkle,  author of Life after Life

"Recalls the best of Pat Conroy: the rich Southern atmosphere, the interplay of darkness and light in adolescence, the combination of brisk narrative suspense with philosophical musings on memory, manhood, and truth...Celebrate, fiction lovers: The gods of Southern gothic storytelling have inducted a junior member." ~Kirkus Reviews
"Suspenseful, compassionate, and absorbing, Walsh's word-perfect rendering of the doubts, insecurities, bravado, and idealism of teens deserves to be placed in the hands of readers of Tom Franklin, Hannah Pittard, and Jeffrey Eugenides." ~Booklist

"Much more than a simple coming of age story, this is a rumination on how the events in one's lfe can change depending on where and when they are recalled...Rarely does a new author display the skill to develop a page turner with such a literary tone. Readers of both popular and literary fiction will get their fixes from this novel." ~Library Journal

"This is literature of the highest order. Although the book snaps with the tautness of a thriller-and Walsh keeps the reader guessing until the end, as the best mystery writers do-My Sunshine Away also asks essential questions, like how much responsibility we have to each other, and whether we can ever fully reassemble the pieces of broken lives. And while Walsh hints at answers, it's his willingness to engage such ideas that makes My Sunshine Away an important work of fiction. We need more novelists with the guts and clarity of M.O. Walsh." ~Matthew Thomas, author of We Are Not Ourselves

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