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Janet Peery’s first novel, The River Beyond the World, was a National Book Award finalist in 1996. Acclaimed for her gorgeous writing and piercing gaze into the hearts of people, Peery now returns with a new, unflinching audiobook, The Exact Nature of Our Wrongs.
On a summer evening in the blue-collar town of Amicus, Kansas, the Campbell family gathers for a birthday dinner for their ailing patriarch, retired judge Abel Campbell, prepared and hosted by their still-hale mother Hattie. But when Billy, the youngest sibling—with a history of addiction, grand ideas, and misdemeanors—passes out in his devil’s food cake, the family takes up the unfinished business of Billy’s sobriety.
Billy’s wayward adventures have too long consumed their lives, in particular Hattie’s, who has enabled his transgressions while trying to save him from Abel’s disappointment. As the older children—Doro, Jesse, ClairBell, and Gideon—contend with their own troubles, they compete for the approval of the elderly parents they adore, but can’t quite forgive.
With knowing humor and sure-handed storytelling, Janet Peery's new audiobook reveals a family at its best and worst, with old wounds and new, its fractures and feuds, and yet its unbreakable bonds.
Even a hundred years past the town’s founding a visitor to Amicus might guess it had been laid out by rival drunks. A flatland hamlet between the Chisholm Trail and the Santa Fe tracks, the place had no true center but was an array...
Praise for The Exact Nature of Our Wrongs
"It's rare to find a book that so mercilessly, and beautifully, and honestly concerns itself with middle-aged life. With the tender, enduring, fraught relationships among aging siblings and their even more aged parents. Janet Peery is a magnificent sentence-maker and a faithful reporter of the human condition as it regards this large and flawed and recognizable -- so recognizable -- midwestern family. I will gift everyone I know with a copy of The Exact Nature of Our Wrongs, just because it has such important confirmation to bestow upon us." --Antonya Nelson, author of Talking in Bed and Funny Once
"Piercingly observant of the minutia that make life meaningful, Janet Peery paints a portrait in The Exact Nature of our Wrongs of a family both unmistakably familiar and unforgettably unique, one that will stay with you for a while. This is a richly accomplished, novel by a writer as wryly funny as she is wise." --Josh Weil, author of The Great Glass Sea and The New Valley
"A masterpiece. One of the wisest, most nuanced evocations of the hopeless quandary of family relations--the trying to understand, to get along, the failure and the suffering--and yet the grace of it, too." --Blake Bailey, author of Cheever: A Life