A Little Hope by Ethan Joella
11/16/21; 288 pages
A Little Hope by Ethan Joella is a very highly recommended drama of
interlinking stories set the small city of Wharton, Connecticut over the span of ten months.
Greg Tyler, 39, has just been diagnosed with multiple myeloma and now
he and his wife, Freddie, must find a way to deal with his illness and the treatments
while caring for their 7 year-old daughter. The other stories about
people in or from Wharton all touch the life of the Tyler's in some way.
Greg's boss, Alex, loss his son years ago and subsequently had an
affair and daughter. A widow, Darcy, grieves for her late spouse while
her son struggles with addiction. A wedding is being planned and we
learn about several of the people involved. People are dealing with
life, uncertainty, loss, and grief all while being connected through their community.
A Little Hope is a beautifully written collection of stories that work together to depict quiet, ordinary lives in a small town. The stories do return to characters and continue following their experiences.
Joella presents glimpses into the lives of people in this community and
opens up a window into their feelings, thoughts, struggles, and doubts.
It is reminiscent
of real life in the depiction of each of the characters and their
private emotions as they quietly react to and process the events around
them. These are ordinary individuals and this emotionally powerful debut allows us into their inner lives.
While about different individuals, the stories all work together to create a sensitive portrait of a community through the inner lives of these people. It is a strong debut novel that has an emotional intensity even though many of the character's reactions are outwardly restrained as they deal with their struggles privately. They find a way to forgive and love, or at least accept their circumstances, in order to move on while handling the many challenges even a normal life encompasses. This is an excellent novel!
Disclosure: My review copy was courtesy of Scribner.