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Spanning generations, River of the Brokenhearted tells the life and legacy of Janie McCleary, a strong-willed Irish Catholic girl who dares to marry a man from the Church of England. Their union is quickly deemed scandalous, and when her husband dies young, just before the Great Depression, Janie is left alone to raise a family and run a business-the first movie theater in town. Through the strength of her character, she succeeds in a world of men. For that she is ostracized and becomes a victim of double-dealing and overt violence. Based on the author’s own grandmother, Janie is a pioneer before the age of feminism, but her salty individualism burdens the lives of her children and grandchildren.
Writing with compassion and mastery, Richards muses on the tyranny of memory and history, and peers into the hearts of extraordinary characters. There he finds an alchemy of venality and goodwill, deceit and brotherliness, marked cruelty and true love. Once again, David Adams Richards has brought us a work of astonishing grace, rooted in his special territory on the great river Miramichi of New Brunswick, but firmly universal in scope.
- Arcade Publishing, August 2014
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