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A Novel

Kate Southwood


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Other Editions of This Title:
Hardcover (5/16/2017)


A penetrating and powerful novel about the deep undercurrents of love and regret in one Midwestern family.

In 1939, Maggie Doud married Garfield Maguire. Now, fifty years on, she’s Margaret Maguire: a widow and a grandmother, unable to ignore the consequences of having married a cruel and arrogant man. Her daughters are strangers to each other, past hope of reconciling. Margaret’s granddaughter could be the one to break the cycle, but she can’t do it alone. Beautifully rendered and poignantly told, Evensong masterfully explores a woman’s desire for redemption and understanding at the end of her days.

Praise For Evensong: A Novel

What a gorgeous, poignant book Kate Southwood has written! Evensong is both heartbreaking and breathtaking, a novel that lingers long after its final pages.

— Ann Hood, author of The Book That Matters Most

Distinctive.… [Evensong] offers food for thought, as well as the suggestion that it’s never too late to make changes in one’s life.

— New York Journal of Books

An introspective novel about a woman hoping for closure before death.
— Kirkus Reviews

Evensong is the story of a woman at the end of her life, taking a clear-eyed look at it. And it seems to me that along the way Kate Southwood performs a series of literary miracles. For this is a novel that both expands and compresses a life, that lays bare and embellishes it. The story is as specific as an intimate memory whispered by a person to herself, and as universal as the ongoingness of life itself. There were a few times I gasped at the beauty of the prose; there were many more times I underlined passages to go back and relish again. You need read only the first page—or any page—to understand that what is offered here is an inspiring work of art. Truly, this is literature at its best. I loved this book.

— Elizabeth Berg, author of The Dream Lover and The Story of Arthur Truluv

Kate Southwood writes as beautifully about the grit and poetry of daily life as she does about the lies we tell each other and ourselves. In its gentle but insistent urge toward knowledge, Evensong shines a light into the dark.

— Elizabeth Graver, author of The End of the Point

As a woman looks back on a single, faulty decision that marred the course of her days, Kate Southwood’s Evensong breaks open an ordinary life to dazzling effect. Musical in its rhythms, brimming with yearning and regret, this is novel that continually surprises, reminding us that our passions, our fates—our very names—can be irrevocably changed by the simple turn of a head.

— Michelle Hoover, author of The Quickening and Bottomland

In Evensong, Kate Southwood has given us a novel filled with an epic life, that of a woman whose fierce and vivid memories encompass a truly American story of mothers, daughters, the struggle for love and independence, the way women fight to keep their true selves when the world tries to etch them away. Unforgettable.

— Susan Straight, author of Between Heaven and Here and Highwire Moon

W. W. Norton & Company, 9780393355833, 240pp.

Publication Date: June 19, 2018

About the Author

Kate Southwood is the author of Falling to Earth and Evensong. Her articles and essays have appeared in the New York Times, the Christian Science Monitor, and the Huffington Post, among others. She lives in Oslo, Norway.