The Resurrection of Joan Ashby

Cherise Wolas. Flatiron, $27.99 (544p) ISBN 978-1-250-08143-8
This long-winded debut saga takes place over three decades in the life of a writer. By age 13, Joan Ashby, a writer to her core, has vowed never to allow marriage or offspring to get in the way of her authorial life. By her early 20s she has published two dark, prize-winning short story collections. Beautiful and poised, Joan travels the world on book tours and the literary world awaits with bated breath her first novel. But she falls for a brilliant, dashing young eye doctor, marries him, and her plans change. Their beloved son, Daniel, is Joan’s doppelganger and loves the written word from an early age, but she never lets on to him that she is a famous writer. As Daniel grows, Joan writes stories, which she reads to him, and also novels, which she keeps secret from both her son and her husband, believing she must keep this self separate from her self as mother and wife. Eventually, she has another son and decides not to publish the novel she has secretly completed, because she believes she must devote her time to keeping her troubled but brilliant second son from the brink of despair. In the meantime, Daniel discovers his mother is an author. Joan finally flees to Dharamsala for 200 pages of meditation, recovering her identity, forgiving her son, falling in love again, coming to terms with her marriage—and writing another novel. The novel, in addition to overextending itself—both in scope and actual page count—is frustrating, shallowly addressing its central theme of artistic pursuit versus family, and eventually turns into more of an inspirational primer on Buddhism than character study. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 07/03/2017
Release date: 08/29/2017
Compact Disc - 978-1-4272-8243-9
Ebook - 978-1-250-08144-5
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