“Family-fracturing secrets are at the heart of Lent’s luminous third novel, a transcendent story about the healing power of love and art…. This sympathetic depiction of a decent man wrestling with his demons while deciding whether to revive an old love or open himself to a new lover is … magisterial and beautifully written.” Publishers Weekly (starred review)
A Peculiar Grace
978-0-8021-4366-2 • $15.00 • Paperback • June 2008
A Peculiar Grace is an unforgettable tale of obsession, inspiration, and tragedy in a family of New England artists, by an author with “the absolute mastery to create his own reality” Jim Harrison
Acclaimed novelist Jeffrey Lent’s A Peculiar Grace was hailed by Howard Frank Mosher as “the best book to date by one of the two or three most gifted American novelists since William Faulkner.” It is a timeless tale of love, destruction, and rebirth through artistry set in modernday Vermont.
Hewitt Pearce is a forty-three-year-old blacksmith who lives alone in his family home, producing custom ironwork and safeguarding a small collection of art his late father left behind. When Jessica, a troubled young vagabond, appears in his backwoods one morning fleeing her demons, Hewitt’s previously hermetic existence is suddenly challengedmore so when he learns that Emily, the love of his life whom he’d lost twenty years before, has been unexpectedly widowed. As he gradually uncovers the secrets of Jessica’s past and tries to win Emily’s trust again, Hewitt must confront his own dark history and his family’s, and rediscovers how much he’s craved human connection. The more he reflects on the heartbreaking losses that nearly destroyed both him and his father, however, the more Hewitt realizes that his art may offer a deliverance that no love or faith truly can.
Set in the art scene of postwar New York, a commune in the early 1970s, and contemporary small-town New England, A Peculiar Grace recalls Kent Haruf and Wallace Stegner. It’s a remarkable achievement by one of our finest authors and an insightful portrait of family secrets, with an unforgettable cast of characters who have learned to survive by giving shape to their losses.