Written with grace and perceptive intelligence, this story is humane, mysterious, tragic, compelling and beautiful.Come From Nowhere is a gift to thoughtful readers." Chuck Wachtel, author of the novels 3/03, The Gates, and Joe The Engineer
"Oh, how I love this book! Greenfield lyrically brings to life a New York of the 1970s that is also completely of today, a city that holds promise and danger in the palm of one hand. As these characters navigate its streets looking for belonging and stability, it's impossible not to root for them." Allison Lynn, author of Now You See It
"Each of these endearing characters charts the rough seas of New York City in the summer of 1977 with grace and courage. The city itself, a metropolis teeming with opportunity, danger and surprise, emerges as both a character and a beacon in the darkness." Natalie Danford, author of Inheritance
"In Come From Nowhere, Greenfield manages to evoke an entire city in her excellent and surprising depiction of six women who find their wake-up calls in the same dark moment. She's written a true love letter to New York City and all of its varied inhabitants." Michael Dahlie, author of A Gentleman's Guide to Graceful Living
"With her tender, funny, and always imaginative prose, Greenfield reveals the roaring inner worlds of seemingly ordinary women. Mixing myth and reality, pleasure and pain, the playful and the somber, Greenfield turns a sweltering, semi-disastrous summer day into a wrenching tale of seven personal odysseys." Elizabeth Gand, PhD
About the Author
Ellen Greenfield is a poet and novelist living in Brooklyn and Jefferson, NY with her husband and two extremely loving and wayward Bernese Mountain Dogs.
Born and bred in Brooklyn, NY, Ellen Greenfield received her MFA from New York University's Creative Writing Program and her MA in Journalism from Syracuse University's Newhouse School of Public Communications. Her previous books include House Dangerous, the first book about indoor pollution for the consumer, You Can Have an Easier Delivery, aimed at alleviating women's fear of childbirth, 100 Classics of Victorian Verse, an anthology, and SoupStrong, a cookbook of recipes for cancer patients. Articles, poems and short fiction have appeared in several publications.
Her recently published novel, Come From Nowhere, was a finalist in the Pirate's Alley Faulkner Society's competition for Novel-in-Progress.
Ellen has taught writing at Goldwater Hospital, the Metropolitan Correctional Center and the Bayview Correctional Center, and is currently a writing mentor with the Visible Ink program at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.
She lives in Brooklyn and Jefferson, NY, with her husband and two slightly off-the-wall Bernese Mountain dogs.
Greenfield has created an incredible sense of time and place in this beautifully-written novel. I felt completely transported to that dark summer day in 1977 and into the lives of these amazing characters. So much to talk about here -- this would make a great book club read!
This is a terrific book with amazing well-drawn characters that really captures something of what it was like to live in New York City in the 1970s. Like Colum McCann's national bestseller, Let the Great World Spin, Ellen Greenfield's Come From Nowhere sketches the bygone city through the eyes of a several disparate characters -- in this case, female characters who happen to be on the same subway platform one sweltering morning in the Summer of Sam. But these are not Sex in the City girls with money to burn on high-fashion shoes, but rather those for whom every subway fare and every morsel counts. In some ways, I loved the characters in Come From Nowhere like I love my children: Greenfield allows the reader to get to know each one very intimately with all her aspirations, faults and longings, and I found myself so involved that it was difficult to refrain from offering advice aloud as I watched them stepping (and sometimes stumbling) forward. Still, I'm so glad I got to meet them and hold their hands through New York's Great Blackout.
I couldn't put this book down--actually, I forced myself to put it down in order to make it last longer. This is the best new work of fiction I've read in a long time. The book is rich with detail--the details of New York City in July 1977; the details of intricately woven personal histories. Anyone who has ever been alone and struggling in a seemingly heartless city will see herself in this novel. Anyone with the least bit of curiosity about other people's stories will be spellbound. Here are the stories of individual lives; stories handed down from mother to daughter, generation to generation; stories from Greek mythology and from Orthodox Jewish religious belief. The stories are various, personal, specific. The writing is fast-paced; at times, hallucinatory, poetic. The writer has many stories to tell and no time to waste.
I fell in love with the wonderful (& wonderfully-crafted) characters in this book. They are each made human by their vulnerabilities and divine through their dreams and aspirations, and soon you find yourself rooting for them to find their way on both real and figurative levels. Take the journey with them and feel their sorrows and joys as the lights, very suddenly, go out. A true, and timeless, New York tale comes alive in these pages.
I loved this book, and think about it often. The way Ellen Greenfield tells the story of these seven women keeps you on the edge of your seat. There were many moments where I just couldn't put the book down.
First an admission: I was there during the blackout of '77. I worked in Manhattan and remember that crazy summer. The Summer of Son of Sam. I was a brown-haired girl, a targeted group. I remember so many of the items in this book, it was like the author was writing from my life.
I really enjoyed the richness of the characters and the expansive view of the era. The screetch of the subway, the music of the time, the iguana on the top of the Lone Star Cafe. I felt that I had to put the brakes on in order to not read this book in one sitting, gulping it up.
Purchased for my Kindle, and then purchased 2 more books to give as Birthday gifts. These gifts were enjoyed and very much appreciated. One of the most memorable and best books that I have read in a long time. It is one of those type of books that I didn't want to end.
Ellen Greenfield has provided a terrific read! If you enjoy fully developed characters followed over time and all linked by a circumstance beyond their control, you will love this book. And if you know New York City in the 70's, it will bring it back. Otherwise, prepare to get acquainted. I loved Colum McCann's "Let the Great Wold Spin," also set in NYC 1970's, a single occurrence linking all the characters. I will read anything he writes. Same with Greenfield. What's next?