In a working-class Irish Catholic town, the abuse of a young girl is hushed up by a community more interested in civility than justice. Now, almost two decades later, sweet, damaged Charlotte starts receiving obscene text messages from someone who insists he knows her secret, and ten seemingly unconnected lives are pulled into an intricate and dangerous swerve toward tragedy.
This heart-stopping tale unfolds at the pace of a thriller, but its exquisite tension is generated by the precision of its character portraits. Equal parts Gillian Flynn and Tobias Wolff, I Was Here is not only a tour de force of storytelling but a profound look at human fragility, the momentum of evil, and the bravery required for kindness. It is, in short, a dazzlingly good read, marrying the depth and beauty of literary fiction to the adrenaline rush of a thriller, and told with the fierce empathy that fans of Kadish’s first two novels have come to know as distinctively her own.
PRAISE FOR I WAS HERE
"A story of evil's aftermath that somehow manages to be both terrifying and profoundly kind, I Was Here is more than an extraordinary novella - it is an announcement that Rachel Kadish, long one of our most promising writers, is now a literary force to be reckoned with." -- Rebecca Newberger Goldstein, bestselling author of The Mind Body Problem and Plato at the Googleplex: Why Philosophy Won't Go Away
"I Was Here is a riveting read. Rachel Kadish weaves in and out of her different characters' minds, laying bare their secrets and makes us feel for all of them. I couldn't stop thinking about this novella long after I read it." -- Tova Mirvis, bestselling author of The Ladies' Auxiliary and Visible City
"This was my first Rooster read, and came in bite sized installments to my phone on an every-other-day basis. But here’s the thing – I could not wait for the next installment, and read Kadish’s novella in one heady rush. The story centers on a working class down that’s seen better days, and a group of six-degrees-separated characters who were or all involved in a child abuse crime perpetrated years ago. The incident, which had been hushed up, is rearing back up as the abuser is thrown in jail after going after more young girls. I know, not exactly the kind of uplifting stuff that usually has me on the edge of my reading toes – but this book is so lush, and soft, and delicate, all while being quietly furious and empowering. From Charlotte the first abused child, now a struggling adult with a family of her own; to Jim, the son of the abuser, who refuses to believe his father capable of such crimes – every character is so fleshed out, wholly believable, tangibly present, I felt like I was in the action with them, scene after scene. I’m still haunted by the book, feeling the imprint of the characters in my head, and rushing to the bookstore to buy more of Kadish’s fiction." - Alison Peters, BookRiot
ABOUT RACHEL KADISH
Rachel Kadish is the author of the novels From A Sealed Room and Tolstoy Lied: A Love Story. Her work has been read on National Public Radio and has appeared in publications such as The New York Times, Ploughshares, Tin House, Zoetrope, Bomb, and the Pushcart Prize Anthology. She’s a graduate of Princeton University, holds an M.A. in creative writing from New York University, and has been a fiction fellow of the National Endowment for the Arts and of the Massachusetts Cultural Council as well as a writer-in-residence at Stanford University. She lives outside Boston, where she teaches fiction in Lesley University’s MFA Program in Creative Writing, and is a research associate at the Hadassah-Brandeis Institute. I Was Here is her first novella.