‘Elsey Come Home’ by Susan Conley

‘Elsey Come Home’ by Susan Conley

WHO: Susan Conley

WHAT: ELSEY COME HOME, a novel

WHEN: Published by Knopf January 16, 2019

WHERE: The author lives in Maine.

WHY: “Conley hits the mark on a story line that feels both high-stakes and fine-tuned.
“Probing questions about how to balance motherhood, a career, marriage, and a drinking problem resonate throughout Conley’s excellent novel narrated by an American painter looking back on her past few years in China, which were mostly spent teetering on the verge of a breakdown.
“When Elsey’s Dutch husband, Lukas, suggests she attend a weeklong spiritual retreat, Elsey begrudgingly capitulates to save their crumbling marriage. But the experience isn’t as woo-woo as she expects. Instead, while learning to weather the dreaded ‘Talking Circle’ and enduring the day of silence, she alternates between closing herself off from her emotions and ruminating on her demons, including the death of her younger sister when they were children, and her inability to ‘understand how to be obsessed with her children and obsessed with her painting at the same time.’
“Elsey also befriends Mei, an esteemed painter married to another esteemed painter, whose frankness about feeling trapped in a restrictive country and marriage gives Elsey perspective. Though Elsey continues to falter and obsess over past decisions after returning home, her growing ability to tackle previously insurmountable challenges proves she is slowly learning how to ‘be a different kind of mother. A different kind of wife.’ It’s the raw desperation of Elsey’s inner dialogue that elevates the novel, making for an honest and astute depiction of the human psyche.”
–PUBLISHERS WEEKLY, a boxed and starred review

“Dreamy, meditative, hypnotic, and very real…
Conley’s novel illustrates the power of storytelling as a process for healing.”
–KIRKUS REVIEWS

“Reflective, mesmerizing…a compelling journey.”
–Leah Strauss, BOOKLIST

. . . . .

FROM THE BEGINNING OF THE BOOK:

About a year ago, my husband handed me a brochure for a retreat in a nearby mountain village. We were standing in our Beijing kitchen while the girls paayed make-believe dog at our feet. The brochure was more like a handmade pamphlet — four pieces of white computer paper folded in the middle and stapled three times along the crease. There was a grainy photo of a cement terrace on the cover, and a more alarming photo o people sitting in a room with their eyes closed, and text under the photos that explained something called a “day of silence” and yoga and the chance for participants to reinvent themselves. My husband, Lukas, told me these things would make a good week’s vacation for me, and he smiled while I looked at the photos, but it was a distant smile.

Jacket photo

Media Resources:
About the book and author | Author tour | Download the jacket | Download the author photo

Knopf. 256 pages. $25.95
ISBN 978-0-525-52098-6


To interview the author, contact:
Abigail Endler | 212-572-2015 | aendler@penguinrandomhouse.com