Sweet Jesus by Christine Pountney

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The route taken by Hannah, Connie and Zeus in Sweet Jesus is no mere travelogue, but an atlas of family relationships lost and found again.
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Synopsis

Christine Pountney’s dazzling and original novel, Sweet Jesus, is a work of deep feeling, wit, and piercing observation. Set mainly on Vancouver Island, in Toronto, and in the American Midwest, it tells the story of three siblings who, in the week before the 2012 US Presidential election, reunite and set off on a journey that will transform their lives.

Connie Foster, a mother of three young children, learns that her husband’s attempt to maintain their lifestyle has led them to financial ruin. Her sister, Hannah Crowe, a writer, desperately wants to have a child but the man she loves is determined not to. Zeus Ortega, their much younger adopted brother, who left the family home when he was only fifteen, is living in Chicago with his boyfriend and working as a therapeutic clown in a children’s hospital. Prompted by a heartbreaking loss, he quits his job and decides to search for his birth parents in New Mexico. Together, the three siblings head south and, on the way, they visit a mega church in Wichita, Kansas, where their mother, Rose, once had a powerful faith experience, and where they are confronted by the politics of the evangelical right.

What unfolds is a captivating story about three people bound by family ties and caught between loyalty and desire, searching for wholeness and finding something more real in its place. Achingly human, infused with sparkling intelligence and dark humour, and revealing of our foibles and our grace, Sweet Jesus illuminates how compassion goes a long way in the absence of certainty.  Christine Pountney is one of Canada’s most exciting new writers.  

 

About Christine Pountney

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CHRISTINE POUNTNEY grew up in Vancouver and Montreal, and lived in London for five years before moving back to Canada. She has two previous novels, Last Chance Texaco (longlisted for the Orange Prize in 2000), and The Best Way You Know How. She has written for the Guardian, the New York Times Magazine, the Walrus, Brick Magazine, and Nuvo. She lives in Toronto with her partner, Michael Winter, and their son, Leo.
 
Published September 11, 2012 by McClelland & Stewart. 320 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Fiction
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Critic reviews for Sweet Jesus
All: 2 | Positive: 2 | Negative: 0

National Post arts

Above average
Reviewed by Shawn Syms on Sep 21 2012

The route taken by Hannah, Connie and Zeus in Sweet Jesus is no mere travelogue, but an atlas of family relationships lost and found again.

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National Post arts

Good
Reviewed by Shawn Syms on Sep 21 2012

As each character brings the depths of past experience to bear on the present, lessons wrought by maturity bring the emergence of new intimacies between them — a journey from estrangement to deeper understanding. You’ll be glad you went along for the ride.

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