Author: Elise Juska
Genre: Adult Contemporary
Release Date: April 17, 2018
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
A literary tour de force from the acclaimed author of The Blessings-a riveting new novel about one of the most urgent crises of our time.
One August afternoon, as single mother Maggie Daley prepares to send her only child off to college, their world is shattered by news of a mass shooting at the local mall in rural Maine. As reports and updates about the tragedy begin to roll in, Maggie, an English professor, is further stunned to learn that the gunman had been a student of hers. Nathan Dugan was an awkward, complicated young man whose quiet presence in her classroom had faded from her memory-but not, it seems, the memories of his classmates.
When a viral blog post hints at the existence of a dark, violence-tinged essay Nathan had written during Maggie's freshman comp seminar, Maggie soon finds herself at the center of a heated national controversy. Could the overlooked essay have offered critical red flags that might have warned of, or even prevented, the murders to come? As the media storm grows around her, Maggie makes a series of desperate choices that threaten to destroy not just the personal and professional lives she's worked so hard to build, but-more important-the happiness and safety of her sensitive daughter, Anna.
Engrossing and provocative, combining sharp plot twists with Juska's award-winning, trademark literary sophistication, IF WE HAD KNOWN is at once an unforgettable mother-daughter journey, an exquisite portrait of a community in turmoil, and a harrowing examination of ethical and moral responsibility in a dangerously interconnected digital world.
PRAISE FOR ELISE JUSKA:
"What a gripping and wise book this is. Elise Juska's unparalleled ability to convey how a single tragic event reaches out to change the lives of many is on full and compelling display here. I love when I read a book like If We Had Known and discover my next go-to gift for all my favorite readers." - Robin Black, author of Life Drawing
"A tender, whip-smart meditation on the origins and aftermath of tragedy. Here Juska asks us an important and quietly devastating question: In what ways are we responsible to and for each other?" - Carmen Maria Machado, author of the National Book Award Finalist Her Body and Other Parties
"Switching between viewpoints, Juska contrasts the actions of a split second and the slow burn of a lifetime of behavior to show that both can have extensive, damning consequences that are rarely foreseen." - Booklist
"Captivates through the close and honest lens it places upon each of its characters." - RT Book Review
"Juska's story nests in a thicket of current issues: social media, gun violence, teenage anxiety and anorexia, and the responsibility of academics with regard to troubled students. Well-written, realistic, and suspenseful to the point of dread." - Kirkus Reviews
"There's no shortage of novels about the quirks and tragedies of large families, but The Blessings is a uniquely poignant, prismatic look at an Irish-Catholic clan as it rallies after losing one of its own." - Entertainment Weekly on The Blessings
"[A] bighearted novel...Juska's moving, multifaceted portrait of the Blessing family gleams like a jewel." - The Philadelphia Inquirer on The Blessings
"The Blessings are a family so real in all their sorrow, joy and complexity that they could be yours or mine. Juska's portrait of this close-knit clan is bursting with wise observations about the nature of love and belonging. I enjoyed every page." - J. Courtney Sullivan New York Times-bestselling author of The Engagements and Maine on The Blessings
"Elise Juska is so good at describing people, places, and moments that you not only picture them, you feel them." - Curtis Sittenfeld on The Blessings
"Stunning...unique and unforgettable." - Glamour on The Blessings
Elise Juska's fiction and nonfiction have appeared in Ploughshares, Gettysburg Review, The Missouri Review, Good Housekeeping, The Hudson Review, and many other publications. She is the recipient of the Alice Hoffman Prize for Fiction from Ploughshares and her work has been cited in The Best American Short Stories. She lives in Philadelphia, where she is the director of the undergraduate creative writing program at the University of the Arts.
(2) Hardcover copies of If We Had Known - Open to US/CAN only!