“Elegant and engrossing….Henderson is a talent to watch.”
—Danielle Trussoni, author of Angelology
“This is not a book you’ll soon forget.”
—Sara Gruen, author of Water for Elephants
The gripping debut novel from Litpark.com founder and Pushcart Prize-nominee Susan Henderson, Up From the Blue is a dazzling tour de force that unfolds against the backdrop of 1970s America—a tumultuous era of desegregation, school busing, and the early rise of modern-day feminism. The story of an imaginative young girl struggling to make sense of her mother’s mysterious disappearance, Up From the Blue is enthralling fiction that delves into complex family relationships, in the vein of Jennifer McMahon, Katrina Kittle, and Laura Kasischke.
In this elegant debut, Tillie Harris, about to give birth to her first child, traces her mother's tragic descent into madness when Tillie was eight years old. A weird, rambunctious girl, Tillie admires her eccentric mother, Mara, but when Mara refuses to get out of bed for several days while their father is away, Tillie and her older brother, Phil, are left to fend for themselves. When their father, a stern, emotionally cold army colonel, returns to find the house in a state of chaos, he begins a daily ritual of dragging his wife from bed and setting her crying on the floor, where she remains for hours. The colonel then accepts a job at the Pentagon and moves the family cross-country. Tillie and Phil arrive at their new home, but their mother is missing, erased without explanation. Henderson's fascinating novel fearlessly examines the complexities of depression, romantic and filial love, and motherhood. Beautiful, funny, sad, and complicated, Tillie's quest to understand her complex, troubled family is filled with lush descriptions of painfully emotional moments.