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Elsey Come Home: A novel
by Susan Conley

Published: 2019-01-15
Hardcover : 256 pages
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ONE OF THE “BEST WOMEN’S FICTION OF 2019 (SO FAR)”—MARIE CLAIRE
ONE OF THE “61 BOOKS WE’RE LOOKING FORWARD TO READING IN 2019”—THE HUFFINGTON POST
ONE OF THE “16 FICTION RELEASES TO WATCH FOR”—WASHINGTON INDEPENDENT REVIEW OF BOOKS
ONE OF THE “BEST NEW BOOKS COMING ...
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Introduction

ONE OF THE “BEST WOMEN’S FICTION OF 2019 (SO FAR)”—MARIE CLAIRE
ONE OF THE “61 BOOKS WE’RE LOOKING FORWARD TO READING IN 2019”—THE HUFFINGTON POST
ONE OF THE “16 FICTION RELEASES TO WATCH FOR”—WASHINGTON INDEPENDENT REVIEW OF BOOKS
ONE OF THE “BEST NEW BOOKS COMING OUT WINTER 2019”—SOUTHERN LIVING
ONE OF THE “10 NEWLY-RELEASED BOOKS THAT WILL GIVE YOU AN EXCUSE TO STAY INDOORS THIS WINTER”O MAGAZINE


“I loved, loved this novel” —Lily King             “What more can I say—perfect” —Judy Blume

“In this intricate, delicate-as-rice-paper novel, an American painter living in Beijing and trying to clean up her act at a yoga retreat makes gains in fits and starts, ‘a butterfly, flitting from leaf to leaf.’”
O Magazine

From the widely praised author of Paris Was the Place—a shattering new novel that bravely delves into the darkest corners of addiction, marriage, and motherhood

When Elsey’s husband, Lukas, hands her a brochure for a weeklong mountain retreat, she knows he is really giving her an ultimatum: Go, or we’re done. Once a successful painter, Elsey set down roots in China after falling passionately for Lukas, the tall, Danish MC at a warehouse rave in downtown Beijing. Now, with two young daughters and unable to find a balance between her identities as painter, mother, and, especially, wife, Elsey fills her days worrying, drinking, and descending into desperate unhappiness. So, brochure in hand, she agrees to go and confront the ghosts of her past. There, she meets a group of men and women who will forever alter the way she understands herself: from Tasmin, another (much richer) expat, to Hunter, a young man whose courage endangers them all, and, most important, Mei--wife of one of China’s most famous artists and a renowned painter herself--with whom Elsey quickly forges a fierce friendship and whose candidness about her pain helps Elsey understand her own. But Elsey must risk tearing herself and Lukas further apart when she decides she must return to her childhood home--the center of her deepest pain--before she can find her way back to him. Written in a voice at once wry, sensual, blunt, and hypnotic, Elsey Come Home is a modern odyssey and a quietly dynamic portrait of contemporary womanhood.

Editorial Review

No editorial review at this time.

Excerpt

1

About a year ago my husband handed me a brochure for a retreat in a nearby mountain village called Song Yang. We were standing in our Beijing kitchen while the girls played make believe dog at our feet. The brochure was more like a hand-made pamphlet—four pieces of white computer paper folded in the middle and stapled three times along the crease. There was a grainy photo of a cement terrace on the cover, and a more alarming photo of people sitting in a room with their eyes closed, and text under the photos that explained something called a day of silence and yoga and the chance for participants to reinvent themselves. My husband, Lukas, told me these things would make a good week’s vacation for me, and he smiled while I looked at the photos, but it was a distant smile. ... view entire excerpt...

Discussion Questions

1. How does the book specifically point to the challenges of womanhood and its intricacies?

2. Elsey Come Home gives readers an intimate glimpse into the inner workings of a woman’s life. What can readers learn from Elsey’s experiences of the pressures of motherhood and the challenges of marriage?

3. When Elsey’s marriage reaches a breaking point, her husband suggests that she take time at a yoga retreat to try and regain the sense of self she seems to have lost along the way. Have you ever felt lost in your mothering journey, and how have you regained your footing?

Notes From the Author to the Bookclub

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Member Reviews

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  "A woman examines her problems in order to come to terms with them."by thewanderingjew (see profile) 02/08/19

Elsey Come Home, Susan Conley, author; narrator, Cassandra Campbell
This is a quick read, perfect for a plane ride and vacation. It examines the “coming of age” of a woman Elsey, a pain
... (read more)

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