Sara Vilkomerson
March 05, 2015 AT 04:28 PM EST

Small Mercies

type
Book
Current Status
In Season
author
Eddie Joyce
publisher
Viking
genre
Novel

We gave it an A-

In this terrific debut novel, the mass horrors of 9/11 are viewed through the small lens of one Staten Island family over the course of a single week. The Amendolas—a boisterous, working-class Irish-Italian clan—are still cracked with grief a decade after losing their firefighter son, Bobby, the day the towers fell. As they prepare to gather for a birthday party, we spend time with Bobby’s mother, father, two brothers, and widow, Tina, who’s struggling with how to tell the family that she’s begun to date again. Joyce layers these different characters’ perspectives nimbly and skillfully, infusing his portrait of a messy, complicated, loving family with heartfelt emotion. A–

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