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Eddie Joyce

Small Mercies

Eddie Joyce Small Mercies
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Biographical note:

EDDIE JOYCE was born and raised on Staten Island. A graduate of Harvard University and Georgetown Law Center, he practiced law in Manhattan for ten years. When his twin daughters were born in 2009, he left the legal profession to stay home and help raise them while pursuing his dream of being a writer. He lives in Brooklyn with his wife and three daughters. Follow @eddiejjoyce on Twitter.

Main description:

A startling and tender portrait of one family’s struggle to make peace with their son’s death

An ingeniously layered narrative, told over the course of one week, Eddie Joyce’s debut novel masterfully depicts an Italian-Irish American family on Staten Island and their complicated emotional history. Ten years after the loss of Bobby—the Amendola family’s youngest son—everyone is still struggling to recover from the firefighter’s unexpected death. Bobby’s mother Gail; his widow Tina; his older brothers Peter, the corporate lawyer, and Franky, the misfit; and his father Michael have all dealt with their grief in different ways. But as the family gathers together for Bobby Jr.’s birthday party, they must each find a way to accept a new man in Tina’s life while reconciling their feelings for their lost loved one.
 
Presented through multiple points of view, Small Mercies explores the conflicts and deep attachments that exist within families. Heart-wrenching and profoundly relatable, Joyce’s debut is a love letter to Staten Island and a deeply affecting portrait of an American family.

Review quote:

Small Mercies, a first novel that does not read like a first novel, tells the story of the Amendolas, a working-class, Staten Island family trying to remain a family in the wake of some terrible bad luck. It’s a very good book, with a texture of reality, a sense of place, and a genuine warmth and seriousness that is rare in contemporary fiction.”
—Keith Gessen, author of All the Sad Young Literary Men
 

“Small Mercies isn’t just the best Staten Island novel ever written; it’s also the best novel yet at capturing the human suffering that resulted from the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center. Joyce tells the story of all New York during that heartbroken, haunted period. His understanding of the role a hometown plays in the development of character rivals William Kennedy’s, and his gift for choosing resonant details and peeling back the layers of emotion in ordinary moments recalls Alice McDermott’s. A kaleidoscopic novel of a people in grief, Small Mercies paints a winning portrait of the loyal, tribal souls of Staten Island. The high-spirited characters in this book have such a good time even when grieving that they may almost make you think about moving there if they aren’t careful.” 
—Matthew Thomas, author of We Are Not Ourselves

“It’s been a long time since I’ve read a debut as good as Eddie Joyce’s Small Mercies. His knack for inhabiting the lives of these vivid characters from New York City’s ‘forgotten borough’—getting inside their minds, capturing the crucial subtleties of each glance and glare and grasp—marks him as a writer to watch. This is the sort of debut William Trevor might have written had he been born a writer from The Rock, a wised-up kid dreaming of the glittering island waiting just across the water.”
—Keith Dixon, author of This Is How You Fall and The Art of Losing


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