Hershon maintains a quiet terror throughout this slim, eccentric novel. . . Fiction full of complexity, devoted to reality. And in the end, a larger sense of purpose crashes down in a satisfying burst.
--Danya Kukafka, The New York Times Book Review
Over the course of a weekend, two couples reckon with the long-hidden secrets that have shaped their families, in a charged, poignant novel of motherhood and friendship
Earn by promoting books
Earn money by sharing your favorite books through our Affiliate program.Become an affiliate
About the Author
A Most Anticipated Book of 2020 at The Millions
A Most Anticipated Book of 2020 by Emma Straub/Books Are Magic on Medium
--Danya Kukafka, The New York Times Book Review For those fantasizing about a weekend getaway right now, perhaps this rich psychological thriller will scratch (and then curb) the itch. Hershon's latest follows a seemingly idyllic married couple, grieving the disappearance of their daughter, as they're invited to spend a few days with some estranged friends in their new country home. We won't tell you what happens next.
--David Canfield, Entertainment Weekly, April's Must-Reads In clear, compassionate prose, Hershon conjures characters readers may initially assume they know and then gently and gradually subverts those assumptions, revealing the emotions and difficulties with which these nuanced characters are grappling . . . This graceful story offers insights into family, friendship, and finding a way to move on after a loss.
--Kirkus, starred review With a building sense of foreboding and suspense, Hershon traces the emotions of Sarah, a feature filmmaker and mother . . . Parents will shiver at Hershon's moving story of fierce but helpless parental love.
--Mary Ellen Prindiville, Booklist
Hershon explores with moving simplicity the complexities friendships and a marriage that has frayed but not yet died.
--Publishers Weekly "From the very first sentences of St. Ivo, I felt certain I was in good hands. What happens when we can no longer communicate with the people we know best? What happens when what was once fluent between two people becomes indecipherable? Not a tender novel, exactly, though there is tenderness in these pages. In St. Ivo Joanna Hershon paints a portrait of grief, of survival, but also of hope. Anyone who has ever loved fiercely, desperately, will devour this story, as I did. The effect here is cumulative and I found myself reading the final pages with the book gripped in both hands."
--Mary Beth Keane, author of Ask Again, Yes "St. Ivo is a wise and revealing book, full of elegant menace--a novel whose tensions threaten to break its surface on every page. But Hershon is a master of control, showing us patiently, and with rich verisimilitude, how a parent's love for an estranged child persists despite separation and silence; how longtime friendships hurt and heal; and how loss compels us to know ourselves, much as we might wish to look away."
--Julie Orringer, author of The Flight Portfolio "An elegant, suspenseful gem of a novel. I admired the crisp writing and intelligent depictions of people, but more than that I needed to know what was going to happen next--I devoured it in a weekend."
--Adelle Waldman, author of The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P. "Joanna Hershon's descriptive powers are vivid and cinematic, but she's also an expert chronicler of the invisible: the changing emotional weather of a marriage, the vicissitudes of sexual passion and of grief, and the way that two human beings in an intimate relationship can still keep devastating secrets from each other. About a particular time and place--Brooklyn, right now--St. Ivo has the eerie quality of a fairy tale, as if something inexplicable might be waiting around the next bend in even the most familiar path."
--Nell Freudenberger, author of Lost and Wanted "St. Ivo has an unexpectedly strong undertow. I didn't realize how forcefully this novel had pulled me under each successive wave of revelations until suddenly I was on the last twenty pages and it was well after midnight. With glistening insight reminiscent of Tessa Hadley, Hershon exposes the tensions that inevitably form in long relationships and grow ever larger until somebody finally admits them out loud."
--Idra Novey, author of Those Who Knew "I bit my nails to the quick while reading Joanna Hershon's St. Ivo. Every page of it felt so charged with mystery, so thickly immediate. Over the course of this brief novel, unfolding over three days, she goes deep into important themes: marriage, motherhood, art-making, money, and loss. There's danger in the world, but there's also danger inside each of us, and Hershon's sharp, supple prose shows us where the two intersect. I'll be thinking about this powerful book for a long time."
--Alix Ohlin, author of Dual Citizens