Review: News From Heaven
News From Heaven, by Jennifer Haigh, is a collection of interconnected short stories set in the coal mining town of Bakerton, Pennsylvania. Bakerton has seen better days so many of the people there are struggling. They’re proud, though, and doing what they can to get by. The stories in this collection show the pride and strength of character deep inside these working class folks.
Even though it’s a collection of short stories, told from different viewpoints and in different time periods, it didn’t read that way to me. Some characters appear in more than one story and each story is connected to Bakerton so I felt like I was getting to know a town of good, hard-working people. People much like those I’ve known throughout my life. They may not always make the right choices but they’re doing the best they can.
The characters in this book felt real to me. They felt like people I’d want to know. Haigh’s writing is full of emotion without being overly sentimental and it brings her characters to life. I laughed and cried along with the people of Bakerton and hated to let them go.
In case you can’t tell, I loved News From Heaven! I’ve been talking about it to everyone I know, so I think it would make a wonderful book club pick. Don’t let the fact that this is a short story collection scare you away – grab a copy of this book and read it as soon as you can – you won’t regret it!