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A Song for Issy Bradley: A Novel Hardcover – August 12, 2014


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A Song for Issy Bradley: A Novel + "A Peculiar People": Anti-Mormonism and the Making of Religion in Nineteenth-Century America + How Wide the Divide?: A Mormon & an Evangelical in Conversation
Price for all three: $59.51

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Best Books of the Year
Best Books of 2014
Looking for something great to read? Browse our editors' picks for 2014's Best Books of the Year in fiction, nonfiction, mysteries, children's books, and much more.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books (August 12, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553390880
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553390889
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.2 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #276,282 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

“I loved A Song for Issy Bradley. It’s wry, smart . . . moving and comforting. . . . A terrific book [about] faith, and what happens to that faith when the unimaginable happens.”—Nick Hornby, The Believer

The Book of Mormon with an English accent.”New York Post
 
“[Carys] Bray fully inhabits each of her characters, displaying an admirable range of narrative talent rare in a first novel. Fans of The Lonely Polygamist and Where’d You Go, Bernadette will savor this thrilling glimpse behind the scenes of a family in crisis.”Booklist (starred review)
 
“With wit and compassion, plus insider knowledge of the Mormon way of life, Bray exposes the raw emotions of a family in crisis. An intriguing and heartbreaking story from an author to watch.”Library Journal
 
“An absorbing, beautifully written debut novel with surprising moments of humor.”Kirkus Reviews

“In this wry, original, generous-spirited debut novel, members of a family come to terms with grief, each in his or her own way. They wrestle with belief and disillusionment, desire and hopelessness, pervasive sorrow and moments of transcendent joy. The result is riveting, powerful, and quietly devastating. Quite simply, A Song for Issy Bradley took my breath away.”—Christina Baker Kline, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Orphan Train
 
A Song for Issy Bradley is that rarest of things—a book that is beautiful, tender, and a page-turner. Carys Bray made me fall hopelessly in love with each and every one of the Bradleys.”—Carol Rifka Brunt, New York Times bestselling author of Tell the Wolves I’m Home
 
“I cannot remember the last time I have felt so emotionally invested in a novel. It is brilliant and profoundly moving, utterly compelling and almost unbearably real.”—Nathan Filer, author of The Shock of the Fall
 
“Carys Bray is a strikingly original new voice in fiction. I loved this tender, moving, funny, and deeply truthful story about a family and a faith tested to the breaking point.”—Helen Dunmore, author of The Lie and The Siege
 
“I loved A Song for Issy Bradley. With courage, warmth, and intelligence, Carys Bray sweetly and subtly breaks your heart. It’s an incredible debut.”—Charlotte Mendelson, author of Almost English and When We Were Bad

About the Author

Carys Bray completed an M.A. in creative writing at Edge Hill University in 2010. That same year she won the M.A. category of the Edge Hill Prize for the Short Story, and her stories have since been published in a variety of literary magazines. She was awarded the Scott Prize for her debut collection, Sweet Home, and is now working on a Ph.D. She lives in Southport, England, with her husband and four children. This is her first novel.

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Customer Reviews

Beautifully written debut by an author who holds much promise.
Lauri Crumley Coates
The hope that pervades the lives of a family of faith is challenged; their love will endure and will help them heal.
delicateflower152
The other LDS characters in the book are caricatures--they are exaggerated and ridiculous.
Utah Mom

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By P. Zack on November 15, 2014
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This is a beautiful book. Heartbreaking, yet full of hope, the books sensitively deals with what happens to a family in the aftermath of a terrible tragedy. Tiny cracks become huge fissures as existing hidden tensions become enormous barriers as a result of the tragedy. I was riveted, moved, and drained when I finally reached the lasts page. But, at least for me, the ending was hopeful, a sign that the family was going to turn the corner and recovery, each better and stronger than before.

I know that many of the LDS readers are going to find this a negative portrayal of the church. I'm not Mormon, but as an Orthodox Jew I am very familiar with tight insular religious communities with a strict interpretation of proper behavior and gender roles. I did not find this book to be negative in the portrayal of the religion at all. Instead, the book was honest and unflinching with the struggles required to be a member of a faith that is so out of step with the world, for good or for ill.

Claire, a convert, is forced into a deep depression by the loss of both her child, and her faith. Her husband, so simple and direct in his beliefs, finds everything he believes challenged by the crumbing of his family around him. And each of the children, perhaps independent minded because of Claire, struggle with the constraints of their faith and their beliefs and what this means to their grieving process. This was a "real" book, but this was NOT a Mormon bashing book. IN fact, if you look carefully, the author offers tiny moments of faith and hope that derive from their beliefs. And, in the end, you get the sense that this family will struggle on, and be better and stronger.

I liked each of the characters.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
In "A Song for Issy Bradley", Carys Bray paints a portrait of his family as they deal with the sudden, unexpected death of their youngest child, Issy. The strengths and the weaknesses of the Bradley family as they cope with this tragedy are poignant and fraught with emotion. The doubts and fears each one has are different, but together they summarize the doubts and fears of every individual with respect to life and death.

In "A Song for Issy Bradley", the characters are well defined; each fulfills a role in depicting differing responses to faith and the impact of death and its aftermath on those beliefs. Ian Bradley, a Bishop in the Mormon Church, is a righteous, dutiful man. He is also piously self-satisfied as evidenced by the following thoughts about his family: "...They probably look like an ordinary family... they aren't ... They're an Eternal family ..." Despite his family's needs, Ian steadfastly maintains his duties as a Bishop. He misses Jacob's seventh birthday party in order to minister to a congregant whose wife calls on Ian frequently. Of Ian, his wife Claire thinks: "...There's one truth, one way, and Ian is following it." Yet, Ian has doubts about his success and, due to Issy's death and its effect of the family, fears early release from his duties as Bishop. "...No other success can compensate for failure in the home..." Claire Bradley is a convert to the Mormon faith; she has reluctantly embraced the roles expected of her. As her daughter lay dying, she thinks about God and His answer to her prayer that Issy be allowed to live "...She had allowed herself to believe that God ... [would magically appear] ...if she ever really needed him... she has wrapped her family in an armor of obedience ... and it's all been for nothing ...".
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Darlene Cruz on August 14, 2014
Format: Hardcover
(Received an Advance Uncorrected Proofs of A Song For Issy Bradley)
Izzy walking along a beach with the Lord, the lost of a child. Faith is questioned. The new bishop, Bishop Ian Bradley and his wife Claire along with their three children, the story surrounds them. Their experiences coping with heartbreaking issues, depression and like I mentioned their faith. I found this story so overwhelmingly haunting yet inspirational at the same time. Multitude of facets within this family with a multitude of challenges, which is obvious. There's no doubt this Mormon family is a typical stereotype followers in the Mormon faith and there's nothing wrong with that. The children finding romance, acceptance and understanding but what I gathered just being teenagers. There are sentences I wanted to quote but could not because this is an Advance Uncorrected Proof but I have to mention this part when you love, you love all of someone, "not just the nice bits." So much love and respect for each other and you could feel it radiate throughout the book. I did take heed to read up a little on the Mormon religion to better understand this story. The author managed to open my eyes without judgement. Wonderful read indeed! Won this book on Goodreads, First Read Giveaway. Thank you, Darlene Cruz
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By wogan TOP 500 REVIEWER on December 6, 2014
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This is not so much a book about the religion of a family - the Church of Latter Day Saints, the Mormons; but it is about a family and how they deal with the loss of a family member.
The family falls apart and away from each other, each dealing with the hurt in their own fashion. We do learn about some of the practices of the church.
Ian, the father is a bishop and seems to put his religion before anything family related. Claire, the mother just takes to bed. The children seem to be left to their own devices and we see a depiction of what their lives and thoughts are.

We are shown what loss can do and the consequences of a family not holding together. At points conversations are written and whoever is supposed to be speaking is not clearly identified.
This is not a happy story but depicts the emotions of a family in their time of trial and sorrow.
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