A Hundred Small Lessons: A Novel
The house at the center of this gut-wrenching novel is a modest home in Brisbane, where a new family–Lucy Kiss, along with her husband, Ben, and son, Tom–has taken up residence. It was Ben’s desire to move to Brisbane, and Lucy has reluctantly agreed. Right away, she senses a strange presence and is certain it has to be Elsie, the previous owner, who adored the house and is still alive in a nearby nursing home. Ben doesn’t believe Lucy’s wild claim that Elsie is making secret visits; and the tension between the couple grows. Meanwhile, Elsie struggles to accept the new terms of her life, finding refuge in memories of her beloved husband and twins, reckoning with old regrets and new realizations.
In alternating narratives, Hay dives deep into the inner lives of both women, examining their greatest regrets, transformational moments, and the relationships that didn’t turn out as planned. Hay’s prose is stunningly, shatteringly beautiful, and the emotional punch she delivers as the women’s paths ultimately converge makes this seemingly quiet novel a breathless and powerful read.
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