A startling and tender portrait of one family's struggle to make peace with their son's death.
An ingeniously layered narrative told over the course of one week, Eddie Joyce's debut novel masterfully depicts an Italian-Irish American family on Staten Island and their complicated emotional history. Ten years after the loss of Bobby - the Amendola family's youngest son - everyone is still struggling to recover from the firefighter's unexpected death. Bobby's mother, Gail; his widow, Tina; his older brothers, Peter, the corporate lawyer, and Franky, the misfit; and his father, Michael, have all dealt with their grief in different ways. But as the family gathers together for Bobby Jr.'s birthday party, they must each find a way to accept a new man in Tina's life while reconciling their feelings for their lost loved one.
Presented through multiple points of view, Small Mercies explores the conflicts and deep attachments that exist within families. Heart-wrenching and profoundly relatable, Joyce's debut is a love letter to Staten Island and a deeply affecting portrait of an American family.
"In Scott Aiello's rich and devastating performance you can hear how different Bobby's widow is from her new Manhattan beau; it's in their accents. Here are voices from all walks of New York City life.... Both novel and performance are full of craft and heart in this outstanding production." (AudioFile)
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Poignant Story and Tremendous Writing
Small Mercies is one of the top few books I've listened to on Audible and one of the first about which I've been moved to write a review. The ability of the author to pull you into the day to day family life of the Amendolas is really special.
The Art of Fielding comes to mind for two reasons. First, there is a backdrop of sports, but it definitely isn't a sports novel. Second, it is character driven and you really get to know the people in the book.
There is an early scene in the book where older brother Peter is being informed that he's being "worked out" of his law firm's partnership. The scene is so realistic in terms of the characters present, the thoughts in Peter's mind and the conversation.
I'd encourage you to take a trip with the Amendolas and get to know them. It's a lovely journey.
- Stephen Venable
A wonderful slice of middle class life on Staten Island.