Title: The Solace of Leaving Early
Author: Kimmel, Haven
Publisher: Doubleday, New York
Publication Date: 2002
Edition: First Edition
Book Condition: VG
D-j Condition: F
Comments: Small tear on top of front board. Spine is slightly cocked.
Synopsis: In her rich and nuanced debut novel, Haven Kimmel brings to life two irresistible people at odds with their small-town lives and with each other.
Langston Braverman does not come home to Haddington, Indiana, because she is searching for a simpler life. Having just walked out of her Ph.D. oral exams and abandoned the remains of a disastrous affair, she has retreated to her parents’ attic to nurse a bruised heart and maybe even write a great American novel. It does not escape her attention that the town is abuzz with the death of her childhood friend, Alice, but not even this morsel of intrigue can rouse Langston from her self-imposed existential dilemma.
A few houses down Plum Street, Amos Townsend is obsessed with Alice’s murder and his inability to stop it from happening. A preacher struggling with his role as a spiritual leader after suffering a profound crisis of faith, he finds comfort in helping Alice’s two small girls, who have renamed themselves Immaculata and Epiphany. When the children claim to speak to the Virgin Mary in the backyard tree, Amos and Langston become adversaries in their attempts to protect the girls, failing to recognize that they are on the same side.
Told with remarkable wit and sweeping empathy, The Solace of Leaving Early is the story of finding our better selves through accepting the shortcomings of others. With gentle humor, beautiful prose, and a warm empathy for the buried wounds of the human heart, Haven Kimmel has created an unforgettable and wise debut.