Stay by Mary Sullivan

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Stay is the powerful story of a young girl stunned into silence after the death of her twin brother. Set in small-town Massachusetts and on Martha's Vineyard, Stay is a terrifically accomplished first novel, and a redemptive tale of love, loss and perserverance.

"Few characters are as eloquent as the mute Emily. Stay will stay with you long after you've reluctantly turned the final, moving page. " -Mameve Medwed

Mary Sullivan lives in Cambridge, where she is on the staff at PEN/New England. Stay is her first novel.

Chapter One

"Time for confession," my sister whispers in my ear. "You better talk to us or you'll end up like you know who."

I follow Hope through the kitchen, past Mum's oatmeal bread rising in the gold mixing bowl. Hope points up the street, but I can't see past the overgrown pine and juniper trees, the dogwood and the rhododendron bushes blooming around the end of our driveway, closing in around us. It feels like all of Cawood is right here in our yard, full of trees and cat willows, chickens and swamp.

"Come on, Emily, now or never," Hope says from the top of the stairs. "Are you coming?"

"Yeah, are you coming?" Elizabeth Ruth asks. Hope's my oldest sister, then Sarah, Elizabeth Ruth, and me.

I reach around and pat along my shoulders until I think I find a bony lump right at the back of my neck which seems to grow bigger right under my fingers. Elizabeth Ruth sees me and says, mimicking Mum, "That's what happens when all that badness piles up inside-tchhh, tchhh, tchhh." I don't want to be like old hunchbacked Mr. Kosik with his back so swollen up and hunched over with sins that his head is like a turtle's tucked into his chest. I'll go with my sisters, but I won't tell them anything. I follow Elizabeth Ruth into Hope's room next to the bathroom, where we'll confess our sins.

"We'll see who's going to heaven," Hope says, spreading the bathroom mat in front of the tub and draping a towel over the curtain rod of the bathroom window to block out the morning light. Then she stands in the doorway and nods, meaning she's ready for Sarah to come and kneel inside the tub to make her confession.

Hope shuts the door on me an


About Mary Sullivan

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When Mary Sullivan picked up her first Harlequin Superromance, she knew she wanted to write these heartfelt stories of love, family, perseverance and happy endings. Her novel, NO ORDINARY COWBOY, was the winner of Romantic Times' 2009 Reviewer's Choice Award for Best First Romance and RomCon's Reader's Choice for Best First book. Who knew daydreaming could feel so rewarding?
Published October 1, 2000 by Zoland Books. 176 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Stay

Kirkus Reviews

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When her father packs his troop into a car for a return trip to Martha’s Vineyard, it’s clear that the story is heading toward a showdown, but first-novelist Sullivan, who has a real knack for getting inside Emily without making her sound like a prodigy or a freak, keeps both the nature of her cl...

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The New York Times

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K T Sullivan and Mark Nadler perform through April 10 at the Oak Room of the Algonquin Hotel, 59 West 44th Street, Manhattan;

Mar 15 2010 | Read Full Review of Stay

Publishers Weekly

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Emily sees it all, but clutched deep inside her is the memory of holding her brother's hand on the bridge, hearing her father urging them to jump and feeling Ham's hand being yanked from hers.

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Washington Independent Review of Books

There’s a moral cudgel at work here that’s lacking in the other stories and makes it more a horror whodunit than a mysterious “message from the universe.” More satisfying is a story like “Slowly We Open Our Eyes,” a gem of a narrative in which a terrible road accident, a mysterious deer, and a jo...

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Review Fix

It’s a rushed origins story that just happens with very little interesting bits in it combined with some decent art.

Nov 19 2012 | Read Full Review of Stay

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