The Sunshine When She's Gone

A Novel

Thea Goodman

Picador

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When Veronica Reed wakes one frigid January morning, two things seem amiss. First, her Manhattan apartment is luxuriously quiet—her husband, John, and the baby, Clara, are out. Secondly, she is rested, having slept through the night for the first time in months. As Veronica goes about her first free morning in what feels like a lifetime, John, racked by sleep deprivation, is fleeing lower Manhattan with Clara for a weekend in the Caribbean. This isn’t a kidnapping. It’s just that the cozy local diner happened to be closed, and John, wanting to give his wife a break and spend a little time with the baby, took a taxi to the airport and hopped on a plane.

Told through alternating points of view, Thea Goodman's The Sunshine When She’s Gone explores one unusual weekend’s life-changing impact on a couple, as individuals and as partners. As Veronica revisits the carefree lifestyle she knew before John and the baby, she grapples with the sacrifices of parenthood. Meanwhile, John faces the full responsibilities—and joys—of being father to an infant with whom he has almost never been left alone. John and Veronica nearly lose hold not only of themselves but of each other as they struggle to find their way in this hilarious, eloquent novel about passion, ambivalence, and love.

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Book Excerpts

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1
Thursday Night
John

Kidnap was not the right word. John had simply meant to take Clara to breakfast at the corner diner, where they had good poached eggs and were especially kind to babies. But in the end he couldn’t explain the inexorable pull, the electric thrum that made him rise from the bed, strangely untethered, and begin to shave with scalding water, or the innocence of his motive—he just wanted to be with her. He couldn’t describe the indefinite urgency that had propelled him. Yes, he took the baby with him, but she was his daughter.

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Thea Goodman on NPR's Weekend Edition

Thea Goodman discusses her novel, The Sunshine When She's Gone, on NPR's Weekend Edition.

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Thea Goodman discusses her novel, The Sunshine When She's Gone.

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Reviews

Praise for The Sunshine When She's Gone

“Goodman has captured the secret thoughts of new parents so flawlessly, I wonder if she installed a listening device into my brain.”—A. J. Jacobs

“A deft account of love and its sacrifices.”—Marie Claire

“This gorgeously human novel is not to be missed.”—Redbook Magazine

“Goodman’s spot-on descriptions…will be acutely recognizable to readers with children.”—New York Times Book Review

“Goodman brings compassion and humor to the domestic struggles of new parents trying to come to terms with the changes to themselves, their spouses and their marriage ‘after baby.’”—BookPage

The Sunshine When She's Gone is a fresh breath of fiction with rich characters and an engrossing plot, in which Goodman makes the drudgery of new parenting seem utterly exciting....a fast-paced, riveting story out of the pitfalls of new parenthood.”—Shelf Awareness (starred)

“On the one hand...a comedy of manners....On the other hand...a darker, raw look at what happens to a person’s identity when nobody’s looking.”—Oprah.com, a Book of the Week selection

“A page-turning portrait of a couple in crisis.”—Vogue.com

“...This book is so good...Goodman’s language has an understated poetry to it, particularly in illustrating the relentlessness of raising a baby...She is at her best in describing the selfish, often bewildering feelings of new parents handicapped by sleep deprivation, when the constant buzzing irritation of wakefulness twists and magnifies a spouse’s shortcomings into fatal character flaws.”—Chicago Magazine

“Sprightly...Like every comedy of errors, this novel makes us wince, then grin with relief.”—More Magazine

“Thea Goodman shines in The Sunshine When She’s Gone.”—Vanity Fair

“[An] exhausted-new-parent fantasy...Readers…laughed a lot.”—Elle “Readers’ Prize” Pick, March 2013

“First-time novelist Goodman is a master of sustained, 'are-you-KIDDING-me?' tension as John and Veronica compete for the title of Worst Parents Ever. New parents should find validation that their own sleep-deprived insanity is normal and will pass.”—Library Journal

“A sobering tale of two people discovering what it means to be a parent.”—Publishers Weekly

“Sharp, intuitive, and empathetic...Goodman offers a wickedly incisive take on the pressures of parenthood and the resiliency of marital trust.”—Booklist

“Snug and elegant...Thea Goodman, a prodigiously talented first-time novelist, distills the keen drama of first-time parenting....The intimacy with which Goodman treats her characters leaves us likewise lucky voyeurs.”—Town and Country

“Thea Goodman has made something I would've thought impossible: an edge-of-your-seat narrative about parenting a small child. Her emotional investment in her characters is complete as they confront each other, themselves, and the heavy weight of new love.”—Nell Freudenberger, author of The Newlyweds

 
“Thea Goodman's astute debut novel poses the question, What if you were to step out of your imbedded life? And her discerning mind answers it with a tale of Manhattanites more inextricably bound together than they might imagine.”—Susan Minot, author of Evening

“From its first alarming domestic scene to its far-from-inevitable, unbearably true conclusion, The Sunshine When She's Gone is a faultless portrait of a marriage in crisis and the precarious paths we all must take to keep our lives in balance. Ever been in love? This book will shake you, jolt you, jar you, and wake you up to life.”—Patrick Somerville, author of The Cradle and This Bright River

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About the Author

Thea Goodman

Thea Goodman has received the Columbia Fiction Award, a Pushcart Prize Special Mention and fellowships at Yaddo and Ragdale; her short stories have appeared in several journals, notably New England Review, Other Voices and Columbia. Born in New York City, she studied at Sarah Lawrence and earned her MFA from Brooklyn College, CUNY. She has taught writing at The School of The Art Institute of Chicago, and lives in Chicago with her husband and children.

Thea Goodman

Fiona McDonagh Farrell
Thea Goodman

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Available Formats and Book Details

The Sunshine When She's Gone
A Novel
Thea Goodman

Trade Paperback

Trade Paperback
Picador
June 2014
Trade Paperback
ISBN: 9781250052698
ISBN10: 1250052696
5 1/2 x 8 1/4 inches, 240 pages
$15.00

Hardcover

Hardcover
Henry Holt and Co.
March 2013
Hardcover
ISBN: 9780805096620
ISBN10: 0805096620
5 1/2 x 8 1/4 inches, 240 pages
$24.00

e-Book Agency

e-Book Agency
Henry Holt and Co.
March 2013
e-Book Agency
ISBN: 9780805096637
ISBN10: 0805096639
240 pages
$9.99
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