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Review: News From Heaven

January 25, 2013

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!

Review copy provided by Harper Collins. I am an Indiebound Affiliate.
30 Comments leave one →
  1. January 25, 2013 5:41 am

    I loved it too. Only a few weeks into 2013 and I know it will be one of my favorites.

  2. January 25, 2013 6:45 am

    I’m glad that this one is wonderful. I tend to enjoy short story collections, so I’ll check this one.

  3. January 25, 2013 7:08 am

    Oh wow, high praise. I did like her previous book so it’s good to know that this is a hit as well.

  4. January 25, 2013 7:29 am

    I do like her work,so ill have to check this out. Thanks for a lovely review Kathy.

  5. bookingmama permalink
    January 25, 2013 7:30 am

    I couldn’t agree more. You must read BAKER TOWERS now — one of my favorite books!

  6. January 25, 2013 7:51 am

    I bet we would like this since we both liked Faith so much!

  7. January 25, 2013 9:48 am

    This sounds like my very favorite kind of short story collection. Interconnected makes all the difference to making a collection feel cohesive. Alice Hoffman does this method so well, and I’m interested to give this book a go, too!

  8. January 25, 2013 9:54 am

    I love short story collections and this one sounds right up my alley. Great post – I could tell how much you enjoyed this book 🙂 I’m definitely looking forward to reading it – Thanks!!

  9. January 25, 2013 10:23 am

    I think I’d like this book, Kathy. How I wish we lived close enough to form a book club!

  10. January 25, 2013 10:31 am

    I have come to appreciate a good story collection. I like to read them in between my other reading to break things up.

  11. talesofwhimsy permalink
    January 25, 2013 12:22 pm

    This sounds SO good. I love the name and cover.

  12. January 25, 2013 12:46 pm

    It is odd that I don’t remember ever coming across News From Heaven. It sounds like a read that I would thoroughly enjoy. Thanks for your thoughts and introduction.

  13. Beth Hoffman permalink
    January 25, 2013 1:21 pm

    I’ve had this book on my radar for a while and am glad to know that you enjoyed it!

  14. January 25, 2013 2:05 pm

    I am not a fan of short stories but I like that this one has characters that pop into other stories.

  15. January 25, 2013 2:38 pm

    I haven’t heard of this book before. I do tend to avoid short stories, but there are a few collections that I have loved (like Jhumpa Lahiri’s).

  16. January 25, 2013 3:26 pm

    I think I finally found a collection of short stories I might like! Thanks for the review.

  17. January 25, 2013 5:15 pm

    News From Heaven does sound pretty great. I’ll have to add it to my wish list. I like short stories.

  18. January 25, 2013 7:37 pm

    This might be the perfect book to introduce me to Haigh. I love short stories, so I have to check this out.

  19. January 25, 2013 8:56 pm

    I enjoy short stories so I’d probably like this one.

  20. January 25, 2013 9:30 pm

    This sounds like a great collection of short stories. Terrific, enthusiastic review, Kathy!

  21. January 25, 2013 9:42 pm

    Our book club has never read a collection of short stories. Thanks for the recommendation!

  22. January 25, 2013 9:53 pm

    This sounds really good. I do like short stories.

  23. January 26, 2013 4:51 pm

    I’ve been wanting to try more short story collections – I will have to put this one on my list. Thanks!

  24. January 27, 2013 10:50 am

    I just finished this last week and I loved it too! I enjoyed how the stories were somewhat connected but not overwhelmingly so.

  25. January 27, 2013 6:04 pm

    Oh me…another one to go on my TBR list!

  26. January 27, 2013 7:16 pm

    I think I will buy this one. I love this author!!!

  27. January 27, 2013 8:03 pm

    I love the idea of interconnected short stories …especially when it focuses on one small town.

  28. Patty permalink
    January 27, 2013 11:01 pm

    I think I love the idea of characters popping up in quite a few stories!

  29. January 28, 2013 6:05 pm

    Oh, I think I would love this one! Off to see if my library has it. Thanks for the review. 🙂

  30. January 29, 2013 10:44 pm

    It took me forever to get to reading Faith, but I LOVED it. Will get to this one faster!

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