Y (eBook)


“Y. That perfect letter. The wishbone, fork in the road, empty wineglass. The question we ask over and over. Why? . . . My life begins at the Y.” So opens Marjorie Celona’s highly acclaimed and exquisitely rendered debut about a wise-beyond-her-years foster child abandoned as a newborn on the doorstep of the local YMCA. Swaddled in a dirty gray sweatshirt with nothing but a Swiss Army knife tucked between her feet, little Shannon is discovered by a man who catches only a glimpse of her troubled mother as she disappears from view. That morning, all three lives are forever changed.

Bounced between foster homes, Shannon endures abuse and neglect until she finally finds stability with Miranda, a kind but no-nonsense single mother with a free-spirited daughter of her own. Yet Shannon defines life on her own terms, refusing to settle down, and never stops longing to uncover her roots—especially the stubborn question of why her mother would abandon her on the day she was born.

Brilliantly and hauntingly interwoven with Shannon’s story is the tale of her mother, Yula, a girl herself who is facing a desperate fate in the hours and days leading up to Shannon’s birth. As past and present converge, Y tells an unforgettable story of identity, inheritance, and, ultimately, forgiveness. Celona’s ravishingly beautiful novel offers a deeply affecting look at the choices we make and what it means to be a family, and it marks the debut of a magnificent new voice in contemporary fiction.

About the Author

Marjorie Celona received her MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, where she was an Iowa Arts Fellow and recipient of the John C. Schupes fellowship. Her stories have appeared in Best American Nonrequired Reading, Glimmer Train, and Harvard Review. Born and raised on Vancouver Island, she lives in Cincinnati.

Praise for Y…

"[A] heartfelt first novel . . . . Ms. Celona adroitly confounds many of our expectations . . . . It's refreshing to read a novel in which questions are not so much answered as extended, and Shannon is an appealing narrator... Celona is compassionate toward even her most wayward characters, figuring wisely that the consequences of their actions will be punishment enough."

"[A] stunning debut novel . . . Celona creates a beautifully tangled web that is equal parts mystery (seriously, this one's a page-turner), poetry and deep rumination on the meaning of family."

"Thoughtfully redemptive."

"An effervescent debut . . . . A meditation on loss, identity, and family, Y showcases a tenacious young writer as she schools us in compassion and ultimately cleans house."

"As a newborn, Shannon is abandoned at the local eoeYe e"and then spends much of her young life asking eoeWhy?e The cards seem stacked against Shannon as she tries to piece together the fragments of her life. Celona reconstructs the story with an almost Faulkner-ian complexity [and] writes movingly about basic questions of identity."

eoeI love ambition in a novel. I love humour, audacity, perseverance, craft. And I am deeply grateful when it gets exquisitely blended in a brand-new voice. Marjorie Celonae(TM)s debut weaves the twin stories of a foster childe(TM)s search for home and the raw account of her mothere(TM)s decision to abandon her newborn.Yis an evocative look into what makes a family, and what makes a home, and how they are undeniably helixed together.e
-Colum McCann, National Book Award-winning author ofLet the Great World Spin

eoeCompellingeThis is at once a moving coming-of-age story full of fresh starts, a haunting family story full of heavy disappointments, and an extraordinarily quiet story full of hope.e

eoeYis everything Ie(TM)m hoping for when I open a booke"suspenseful, compelling, psychologically deft, and beautifully written, with characters so alive they seem to be in the room. Marjorie Celona is a brilliant writer at the start of a brilliant career.e
-Leah Stewart, author ofThe Myth of You and MeandTheHistory of Us

eoeA wee baby girl is left behind and even before she opens her eyes, she begins to describe her extraordinary world.Yis filled with heartbreaking loss and flawed heroes yet Celonae(TM)s writing is filled with grace and compassion.e
-Heather Oe(TM)Neill, author ofLullabies for Little Criminals

eoeMarjorie Celonae(TM)sYis the best novel Ie(TM)ve read this year . . . [A]n unforgettable story about the nature of time itself, the way our past is always alive in the present, shaping us into who we are. With more honesty, compassion, and warmth than is sometimes fashionable in contemporary fiction, this novel will stay with you long after the last page is turned.e
-Anthony Varallo, author ofOut Loud

eoeMarjorie Celonae(TM)sYis moving and utterly beautiful. Dark and bright, fresh and original, this novel grabs you and doesne(TM)t let go. What an extraordinary new voice!e
-Amanda Boyden, author ofPretty Little Dirty

eoeI was enraptured by Shannone(TM)s fierce searching heart . . . With a childe(TM)s defiance, hurt and brittle vulnerability, she led me through a world littered with the abandoned, lost, and broken and brought back forgiveness.e
-Shandi Mitchell, author ofUnder this Unbroken Sky

eoeMarjorie Celonae(TM)sYisne(TM)t merely an extraordinary debut; it would be cause for celebration if it were the authore(TM)s second or fifth or twentieth novel. Theree(TM)s so much to relish: the nimbly interbraided stories of a mother and daughter . . . ; the lovely, lucid, haunting prose; the subtle, precise command of tone. But above all I marvel at Celonae(TM)s clear-eyed and heartbreakingly complex depiction of . . . the fierce, flawed, lovable people at this terrific novele(TM)s heart. These are indelible characters, andYis a triumph.e
-Michael Griffith, author ofTrophy

eoeYis the story of humanitye(TM)s first question: Who am I? This novel tells a pain-filled, utterly essential quest to know who onee(TM)s family is. There is Oedipus. There is Pip. Now there is Shannon, compelled to search through unbearable secrets and trauma. The style is accomplished, the voice hauntingly matter-of-fact.e
-Kim Echlin, author ofThe Disappeared

eoeI couldne(TM)t get enough of Shannon, the charming, brave, and blistering heart of this novel. Shee(TM)s open to everyone she meetse"e"mothers, fathers, the homeless, the addictede"e"so her story is too. Marjorie Celona has written a novel that is funny, contemporary, and heartbreaking, a novel that is in love with life.e
-Deborah Willis, author ofVanishing and Other Stories

eoeRichly textured, gritty, surprising, and innocent, Marjorie Celonae(TM)s tale of an abandoned child explores the undercurrents of small town experience; ite(TM)s a blue-collar world of courage, goodness, and violence . . . Celona has mapped place and class in a way I havene(TM)t read before, and she has created a character with such heart that I didne(TM)t want the story to end.e
-Marilyn Bowering, author ofWhat It Takes to Be Human

eoeA gorgeous, moving debut...[Celona] renders a character readers will love in all her glorious self-doubt.e

eoeA feat of storytelling. It will leave you raw but softened, carrying a brutal reminder that family is both made and given, something we must endure and embrace.e

Product Details ISBN-13: 9781451674422
Published: Free Press, 01/08/2013
Language: en