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Norton / Liveright (2019-01-05)
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2nd Pass Pages


by McColl, Sarah

This is a searing, powerful memoir of a daughter making and remaking her life in her mother's image as she forges through two distinctly different losses: "In one four-month arc, between a February snowfall and May's white dogwood blossoms, my husband left the hangers in his closet swinging, and I buried my mother in a plain pine casket."

Sifting gingerly through memories of her late mother, brilliant newcomer Sarah McColl has penned an indelible tribute to the joy and pain of loving well. Even as her own marriage splinters, McColl drops everything when her mother is diagnosed with cancer, returning to the family farmhouse and laboring over elaborate meals in the hopes of nourishing her back to health. In a series of vibrant vignettes - lipstick applied, novels read, imperfect cakes baked - McColl reveals a woman of endless charm and infinite love for her unruly brood of children.

Mining the dual losses of both her young marriage and her beloved mother, McColl confronts her identity as a woman, walking lightly in the footsteps of the woman who came before her and clinging fast to the joy she left behind. With candor reminiscent of classics like C. S. Lewis's A Grief Observed, Joy Enough offers a story that blooms with life.

This is a finely tuned celebration of the joy and pain of loving well, even when one's time is short

Sarah McColl was founding editor-in-chief of Yahoo Food and holds an MFA from Sarah Lawrence College. Her essays have appeared in the Paris Review, StoryQuarterly, McSweeney's, and elsewhere, and she has been a MacDowell Fellow and Pushcart Prize nominee. She lives in Los Angeles.

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McColl delivers thoughtful and finely crafted prose to vivify this emotionally intense relationship. . . She should be applauded for unstinting efforts to put her heart on the page.

Review: NPR

Written with enough beauty to stop clocks ticking and hearts beating, ... McColl's resonant first book is resplendent with love, and the hope she finds in discovering that her unfathomable grief also carved a space for more profound joy.

Review: Booklist, starred review

...Sparse yet shimmering prose... utterly hopeful. An unforgettable debut.

Review: Library Journal, starred review

Joy Enough is so compelling that I stayed up most of the night while traveling by train in a sleeper car. Sarah McColl's exquisite memoir is the perfect balm for anyone who has experienced the sharp sting of loneliness or inhabited the liminal space between grief and happiness.

Quote: Michele Filgate

JOY ENOUGH is a diamond in book form, a beauty forged by the weight of loss and learning. It stunned me with its taut clarity, with the way it probes quietly, gently, unflinchingly the parts of life that a lot of us don't like to look at: death, divorce, the pleasures and pitfalls of the body. This may be Sarah McColl's debut, but it's a towering achievement by any standard. McColl has a rare talent, and it shines.

Quote: Molly Wizenberg, NYT bestselling author of A Homemade Life

Oh, my heart. Joy Enough is a stunningly beautiful and meditative map of loss - a mother, a marriage, an idea of what life is supposed to be. In prose both poetic and laser-focused, Sarah McColl gives us the seemingly small and gut-punch memories that make up the truth about living through loss and living through love: a garden, a grocery list; a regret, a realization; that thing he said that we wish we could forget and that thing she said that we'll carry with us for the rest of our goddamn lives. I will carry this book with me for the rest of my goddamn life: a manual, a friend, an inspiration.

Quote: Megan Stielstra, author of The Wrong Way to Save Your Life

In beautiful, spare prose, Sarah McColl offers an elegant and deeply-felt meditation on loss that is steeped in the pleasures of this life: in good bread and soft sweaters, friendship, flirtation, and especially love. Joy Enough is a memoir about the death of a mother and a marriage, yes, but more than that, it's about the new life that can spring from those empty spaces. A gorgeous, painful, exhilarating debut.

Quote: Kirstin Valdez Quade, author of Night at the Fiestas

Beautifully tender; a deceptively delicate slow-burn story of grief and love and the desire to hold close those we love.

Quote: Sophie Mackintosh, Booker-Longlisted author of The Water Cure

How can a memoirist take as her subject such a dark night of the soul - a simultaneous divorce and the death of a beloved mother - and forge such greedy, life-affirming grace? Sarah McColl's dense and lyrical narrative vignettes are rich with insight and enlivened with humor. Joy Enough will fill every reader with joy.

Quote: Beth Ann Fennelly, author of Heating & Cooling

It doesn't take long to find yourself in McColl's rhythm, attuned to the beautiful colors and fragrances and tastes that lodge themselves in our memories... McColl's argument - that these small moments make up a life, that these small moments are life - is persuasive, and it is presented with humor and charm... This is a book about an extraordinary figure who was a housewife, mother, and divorcee. The word 'mother' doesn't entirely do her justice, and yet that's what this memoir does: does her justice, in more than a summarizing word

Review: New York Times Book Review

McColl is adept at evocative images that protract the moments of her story and land with sudden, crystalline perfection.

Review: The Brooklyn Rail

Best Book listings: An Amazon Best Book of the Month, January (Memoir & Biography) A BookRiot Most Anticipated Book of 2019 Hello Giggles Best Book to Read This Week Belletrist Book of the Month, February

Quote: Fletcher

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