One for Sorrow, Two for Joy
For two quietly unhappy years, linguist Claire Gallagher has been living deep in the New Hampshire woods, enduring a polite but strained marriage to a highly respected scientist. Once a determined overachiever and academic star in her own right, she now spends her days avoiding her stalled dissertation and creating EZ crossword puzzles. But for all Claire's knowledge of words and their meanings, the meaning in her own life eludes her. One bleak morning in winter, she announces that she's leaving.
By nightfall, at the urging of her younger sister Noelle, Claire finds herself heading to Ireland�the birthplace of her chronically ill mother and the country Noelle, a college dropout, now calls home. In a small town on the Irish coast, Claire's struggle to move ahead with her life takes her deep into the puzzles of her past�in a world in which there are no simple answers, and the only questions that matter are those of the heart.
One for Sorrow, Two for Joy was chosen one of two 2008 Summer Book Club selections by the Room of Her Own Foundation
The novel was the November 2007 book selection for Simon & Schuster's online book club
"Elise Juska is so good at describing people, places, and moments that
you not only picture them, you feel them. A novel of heart, humor,
and intelligence, One for Sorrow, Two for Joy is a true pleasure to
Curtis Sittenfeld, bestselling author of Prep and American Wife
"Elise Juska has written a wry, wise and heartfelt novel about the
ways in which we grieve. Her characters are rich with the kind of
complications that make a novel sing. Juska's passion for language,
and for the ways in which it tries, and sometimes fails, to represent
who we are, give this lovely book a resonance that crosses not only
family lines, but geographical borders, too."
Marisa Silver, author of The God of War
"With pen-not-pencil confidence and skill, Elise Juska has deftly crafted the puzzle of a crossword creator's struggle to understand the mysteries of family, love and self-worth."
Suzanne Strempek Shea, author of Sundays in America
"Clear-eyed and unsentimental, Juska has created a welcome, refreshing novel that upends stereotypes and eschews cliches . . . With her keen ear and discerning eye, Juska has soaked up the details that make her characters full-bodied and bring her settings to life . . . Juska's delicate touch and note-perfect writing allow her to gather the threads of the shrewdly observed details and weave them around her vivid characters, making One for Sorrow, Two for Joy a memorable, rewarding pleasure."
The Philadelphia Inquirer
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"The simplicity of the narrative creates a lovely counterpoint with Juska's own sophisticated wordplay."
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"Don't Miss Read"
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"There is much to like about this novel, from its beautiful and accurate descriptions of simple objects to Juska's efforts to show how each unique character relates to others. Many passages are sad, funny, witty, and relevant all at once . . . [characters] are fully-realized and empathetic . . . themes as familiar as sibling rivalry become fresh and interesting with the author's careful treatment."
"Each setting is attentively described, and the characters that populate Juska's novel are rendered with the same tenderness as the places they inhabit."
Philadelphia Style Magazine
"[A] story about the powerful and gradual dawning of truth in an otherwise circumscribed life."
"[T]here's much to like in UArts writing teacher Elise Juska's empathetic portrait of a smart woman who's finally figuring that it's OK not to know everything . . ."
Philadelphia City Paper
"[I]nsightful, amusing, heartfelt, and beautifully written . . . Claire is a clever, tender, but wounded heroine for whom you will care."
Ocean City Gazette
"The Emerald Isle and its people are wonderfully captured."
Contra Costa Times
"[T]he freshest character I have encountered in a long time . . ."