Elsey Come Home (Conley) - Book Reviews

Book Reviews
Much of Elsey’s narrative is backward looking. Information drifts in slowly.… Learning more about Elsey’s life gradually clarifies its trajectory, but the unhurried pace of the narrative snippets dulls the first quarter of the book because the details on offer do not make clear why Elsey can neither nurture her beloved family nor pick up her artist’s brush.… In the end… this is a thought-provoking novel, often beautifully written.
Wsshington Times

Described as "perfect" by Judy Blume herself, Susan Conley’s new novel follows Elsey, a woman living in Beijing struggling to reconcile her identities as painter, mother, expat, individual, and wife. When the novel opens, Elsey is drinking heavily and descending rapidly into misery. Her husband suggests she take part in a retreat, where she meets a handful of strangers who change her life. It’s a necessary look at the identity crisis women can face when the world forces them into boxes.
Marie Claire

Elsey used to be a recognized painter, but now she’s the wife of expat Danish musician Lukas and the mother of two girls under 10, and she’s tethered to their home in China. As the slim novel opens, she’s depressed and lost and in crisis; at Lukas’ insistence, she leaves the family for a weeklong retreat that will end up transforming her. Even within a few paragraphs of this exploration of motherhood and individuality, Elsey’s voice and emotional turbulence leap off the page.
Huffington Post

Starred review) Conley hits the mark on a story line that feels both high-stakes and fine-tuned. But it’s the raw desperation of Elsey’s inner dialogue that elevates the novel, making for an honest and astute depiction of the human psyche.
Publishers Weekly

An esteemed artist, the disaffected, suddenly hard-drinking Elsey has stopped painting in favor of a desperate attachment to her children, and her adventures in yoga and thereafter are a way of trying to get back to her husband.
Library Journal

A yoga retreat on a mountain in China signals a turning point for an expatriate American painter..…Conley's slim novel illustrates the power of storytelling [in] healing. What entices and endures here is the voice: dreamy, meditative, hypnotic, and very real.
Kirkus Reviews

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