Let’s all welcome Liza Gyllenhaal, author of So Near which released on September 6, 2011, to Peeking Between the Pages today. This novel sounds like the type of family drama that I love to read so I’m anxious to get my hands on this one. I just love the cover as well – isn’t it pretty? Today Liza joins us to talk about the background and insight into her novel So Near…
About twenty years ago, my husband and I brought a small weekend cottage in the Berkshire Hills of western Massachusetts, which is about a 2-1/2 hour drive from our apartment in New York City. At that point, I was running my own advertising agency — your basic 24/7 business — and our escapes to the Berkshires were always the high point of my week. With its rolling hills, meadows, and many working farms, the area reminded me a lot of the small town in Pennsylvania where I was raised. Somehow, I could think more clearly there than in the city, breathe in the air more deeply, and appreciate the unique pleasure of being so close to nature.
I also began to consider the idea of writing a novel about the area — about a small town and the tensions that arise when weekenders start moving up from the city after 9/11 and building enormous mega-mansions. Remember the good old days of the building boom? Well, out of that came my first novel for NAL called Local Knowledge — published in 2009 to some very gratifying reviews.
My new novel, titled So Near, is also set in the Berkshires, but during the first, dark days of the current recession when the sub-prime mortgage crisis wiped out the construction industry in western Massachusetts — and across the country. It’s told in the first person — but from two alternating viewpoints: the husband, who’s in construction, and the wife, a stay-at-home mom and avid gardener. The story is about a devastating accident and its aftermath — and how it threatens to undermine what had once been a very solid marriage.
I love writing about the dynamics of family and friendship, longing and passion, loss and redemption in small town America. But the true heart of So Near is a marriage that is being tested to its limits — and how, in the midst of tragedy — two people struggle to find their way. Although I know the premise perhaps sounds a bit tough to take, I think you’ll find that the novel explores a lot of the things that resonate pretty deeply these days: getting through difficult times, staying true to our best selves, learning to let go of anger and guilt, and trying to find the true meaning of love and forgiveness.
I’d love to know what you think of the story, the characters, the setting — and hope that, at the very least, I was able to bring my beloved Berkshires to life for you! Please write to me via my website: http://www.lizagyllenhaal.com. I very much hope Darlene will have me back again when the novel I’m working on now called A Place for Us is published by NAL.
Best wishes and happy reading,
Thank you so much for joining us here today Liza and this wonderful guest post! So Near sounds like an excellent novel and I would be more than happy to have you back when your next novel is published!
About So Near
In the aftermath of a devastating loss, Cal and Jenny Horigan’s marriage is unraveling. Both are plagued by guilt, unable to seek comfort from one another. Burdened by remorse, they begin to lose sight of the love that once anchored them—together with their sense of right and wrong.
As the Horigans try different ways to deal with their pain, a new acquaintance seems to offer the support they desperately need—though at times they are unsure whether his friendship is helping them find a way back to each other or leading them further apart.
Set in a small town in upstate New York which is still reeling from the recent recession, So Near is an exploration of the dynamics of family and friendship, longing and passion, loss and redemption. Primarily the tale of a marriage that is being tested to its limits, the novel chronicles the distances we sometimes have to travel to emerge from grief—and arrive at the true meaning of love and forgiveness.
About Liza Gyllenhaal (from Amazon.com)
Liza Gyllenhaal was raised in a small, close-knit community in Pennsylvania. First drawn to poetry, she attended the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop, then moved to New York City where she worked in advertising and publishing for many years. She is the author of LOCAL KNOWLEDGE and SO NEAR, and is currently working on her third novel for New American Library. She and her husband divide their time between New York City and the Berkshire Hills in Massachusetts.
I have one copy of So Near by Liza Gyllenhaal to share with my readers. To enter…
- For 1 entry leave me a comment telling me you’d like to enter.
- For 2 entries, follow my blog. If you already do, thank you, and please let me know in your comment so I can pass the extra entry on to you as well.
- For 3 entries, blog or tweet this giveaway and spread the word!
This giveaway is open to US & Canadian residents only (no PO boxes) and I will draw for the winner on Saturday, October 8, 2011. Good luck everyone!