The Why of Things
By Elizabeth Hartley Winthrop
(Simon & Schuster, Hardcover, 9781451695755, 305pp.)
Publication Date: June 11, 2013
List Price: $24.99*
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Since the tragic loss
of her seventeen-year-old
daughter less than a year ago, Joan Jacobs has been working hard to keep her
tight-knit family from coming apart. But it seems as if she and Anders, her
husband, have lost their easy comfort with each other and are unable to snap
back from their isolation into the familiarity and warmth they so desperately
need, both for themselves and for their surviving daughters, Eve and Eloise.
The Jacobses flee to their summer home in search of peace and renewal, but moments
after they arrive the family is confronted with an eerily similar tragedy: that
same evening a pickup truck had driven into the quarry in their backyard.
Within hours, the local police drag up the body of a young man, James Favazza.
As the Jacobs family learns more about the inexplicable events that led up to that fateful June evening, each of them becomes increasingly tangled in the emotional threads of James’ life and death: fifteenyear- old Eve grows obsessed with proving that James’ death wasn’t an accident, though the police refuse to consider this; Anders finds himself forced to face his own deepest fears; and seven-year-old Eloise unwittingly adopts James’ orphaned dog. Joan herself becomes increasingly fixated on James’ mother, a stranger whose sudden loss so closely mirrors her own. With an urgent, beautiful intimacy that her fans have come to expect from this “bitingly intelligent writer” (The New York Times), Elizabeth Hartley
Winthrop delivers a powerful, buoyant, and riveting new novel that explores the complexities of family relationships and the small triumphs that can bring unexpected healing. The Why of Things is a wise, empathetic, and exquisitely heartfelt story about the strength of family bonds. It is an unforgettable and searing tour de force.