Wayward Saints by Suzzy Roche

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From a folk-rock legend comes a tender, comic story of family, music, and second chances.

Mary Saint, the rule-breaking, troubled former lead singer of the almost-famous band Sliced Ham, has pretty much given up on music after the trauma of her band member and lover Garbagio's death seven years earlier. Instead, with the help of her best friend, Thaddeus, she is trying to piece her life together while making mochaccinos in San Francisco. Meanwhile, back in her hometown of Swallow, New York, her mother, Jean Saint, struggles with her own ghosts.

When Mary is invited to give a concert at her old high school, Jean is thrilled, though she's worried about what Father Benedict and her neighbors will think of songs such as "Sewer Flower" and "You're a Pig." But she soon realizes that there are going to be bigger problems when the whole town--including a discouraged teacher and a baker who's anything but sweet--gets in on the act.

Filled with characters that are wild and original, yet still familiar and warm--plus plenty of great insider winks at the music industry--Wayward Saints is a touching and hilarious look at confronting your past and going home again.

About Suzzy Roche

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Along with her sisters, Maggie and Terre, Suzzy Roche is a founding member of the beloved singing group the Roches, whose debut recording was named Album of the Year by the New York Times in 1979. She has been touring for over 30 years, appeared on SNL, the Late Show with David Letterman, and the Tonight Show with Jay Leno. The Roches have collaborated with Paul Simon, The Indigo Girls, Philip Glass, and Laurie Anderson. She recently teamed up with Meg Wolitzer to co-host "A Love Affair Between Words and Music" for WNYC at Symphony Space in New York, and is the creator of "Zero Church," a performance piece that has been performed all over the United States. In 2013, her first children's book will be published by Random House. Photo credit: Irene Young
Published January 17, 2012 by Hachette Books. 276 pages
Genres: Religion & Spirituality, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

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Although the characters are off-kilter enough to be interesting and compelling enough to be sympathetic, there is, alas, lots of filler in the form of some of the minor characters, like the pedophilic teacher who brings Mary back to town.

Jan 17 2012 | Read Full Review of Wayward Saints

Publishers Weekly

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Jean hasn’t seen her daughter in years, and the two remain wrapped in their own lives until an English teacher (who has idolized Mary) contacts Jean with an invitation for Mary to perform at her old high school.

Oct 24 2011 | Read Full Review of Wayward Saints


Wayward Saints, written by musician and singer Suzzy Roche, is a solid, if unusual, debut novel.

Jan 22 2012 | Read Full Review of Wayward Saints


She’s not making music anymore, but is lured out of retirement — and given a chance to reconnect with her estranged family — by an offer to present a solo concert at her old high school in the (fictional) small town of Swallow, N.Y.

Jan 15 2012 | Read Full Review of Wayward Saints

Bookmarks Magazine

Wayward Saints is the best and most surprising debut novel I've read since I can't remember when."
--Rosellen Brown, author of Half a Heart and Before and After "If you've ever had the privilege of hearing Suzzy Roche sing, you know all about her perfect pitch...

Feb 20 2012 | Read Full Review of Wayward Saints

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