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The Things We Save Paperback – September 19, 2011
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"In Zienty's debut novel, a family struggles through loss and painful history, exploring the things that haunt us and help us remember, everything from artifacts to junk to treasures.... A well-plotted, lyrical novel filled with the harsh emotions of a family torn apart by death." - Kirkus Reviews.
"Readers will be drawn into this intense and compelling family saga and rewarded with an emotionally satisfying conclusion." -- Magan Szwarek, Booklist Online, May 20. 2014
"Zienty grabs hold of the reader from the beginning and never lets go..." -- BookLife Prize for Fiction, Publishers Weekly
About the Author
Joanne Zienty was recently named the 2014 winner of the Soon to be Famous Illinois Author Project for her debut novel, The Things We Save. She grew up on the South Side of Chicago and vividly remembers the "glow of industry" that lit the night sky with an orange haze. She attended the University of Chicago and Roosevelt University, has a Master's in Library and Information Science from Dominican University and works as a library director for an elementary school district. She lives in Wheaton, Illinois with her husband and one very naughty cat.
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Dramatic stories about family issues are not usually my fiction plot of choice, but I was compelled to read this book at the recommendations of some fantastic and trusted librarians. I'm certainly glad I did. I think it took me about two or three days to finish. It was that good. The characters felt real, warts and all. While some of them were unlikable, they were still lifelike. The family history could have seemed melodramatic in another writer's hands, but Joanne made it feel authentic. The tragic twist was like a bad accident on the highway -- you know it's coming, but you just cannot look away. Joanne's prose was beautifully written and her story left an imprint on my memory. I've definitely recommended it to several friends and coworkers.
“...When you open the box, the present-day world will fall away, and it will be just you and the things you saved, and the story. This is what it means to be haunted.”
Her novel will leave you haunted in the best way possible, which is truly the most we can hope for from a really good read. If you’re looking for an instant classic to add to your collection, this is it.
Our book club read the book and invited the author. That was great fun, as she explained her inspirations, writing techniques, etc. It also prompted an interesting discussion as to what we've saved in our own lives, and why.