This stunning debut novel—drawn from the author's own life experience—tells the moving story of a family of eleven in the American Midwest, bound together and torn apart by their faith
“A resonant and magical work of imagination.”—Chicago Tribune
Winner of the Whiting Writers’ Award
In this stunning, highly acclaimed debut novel, Hanna Pylväinen's We Sinners introduces us to an unforgettable family, bound together and torn apart by their intense religious devotion. Despite the ways all eleven of the Rovaniemis have built their lives around the conservative religion’s rigid guidelines—music, television, makeup, and even school dances are strictly prohibited—their eventual places in the wider world and their paths to get there could not be more different, or more painful to each other. The children who reject the church learn that freedom comes at an almost unbearable cost, and those who stay struggle daily with the temptations of modern culture. Wholly absorbing and unflinching in its emotional honesty, We Sinners shows us how far we will go for faith and for each other, and the consequences when love—or God—is not enough.
“A spare, quietly devastating novel.”—The Boston Globe“Captivating...The beauty of We Sinners lies in its extraordinary ordinariness.”—Washington Independent Review of Books
“In We Sinners, Pylvainen deftly explores this dance between oppression and liberation, between belief and unbelief, and shows the gray areas. These are not polarities but gradations of human experience. We all move in and out of various communities and belief systems, searching for love and acceptance. Often we search for forgiveness. This novel shows that sometimes it’s found in strange places.”—The Wichita Eagle
“Characters who could be painted in grand strokes as villains or angels are small, fragile, and very human. We Sinners brilliantly, unforgettably reconfigures Tolstoy’s adage about happy and unhappy families: ‘happy and unhappy, every family is.’”—Publishers Weekly, Galley Talk