The Exact Nature of Our Wrongs (Hardcover)

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Staff Reviews

Reading the first chapter left me exhausted. How could one family be SO dysfunctional? Was there any possible hope to survive as a family unit? This is the story of a family who has grown into adulthood, with aging parents who are tired. The parents have lived a long time and wonder if “true love was seen only through time and backwards.” Can old griefs, with time, be changed into a feeling of tenderness? As dysfunctional as it appears, I wonder if there is a bit of this peculiar behavior in every family unit as they mature. Also available as an audiobook.

-Recommended by Virgie

— From September Staff Picks for All Readers


"A brilliantly moving and unforgettable novel." - Jill McCorkle, author of Life After Life

Janet Peery's first novel, The River Beyond the World, was a National Book Award finalist in 1996. Acclaimed for her gorgeous writing and clear-eyed gaze into the hearts of people, Peery now returns with her second novel, The Exact Nature of Our Wrongs.

On a summer evening in the blue-collar town of Amicus, Kansas, the Campbell family gathers for a birthday dinner for their ailing patriarch, retired judge Abel Campbell, prepared and hosted by their still-hale mother Hattie. But when Billy, the youngest sibling--with a history of addiction, grand ideas, and misdemeanors--passes out in his devil's food cake, the family takes up the unfinished business of Billy's sobriety.

Billy's wayward adventures have too long consumed their lives, in particular Hattie's, who has enabled his transgressions while trying to save him from Abel's disappointment. As the older children--Doro, Jesse, ClairBell, and Gideon--contend with their own troubles, they compete for the approval of the elderly parents they adore, but can't quite forgive.

With knowing humor and sure-handed storytelling, Janet Peery reveals a family at its best and worst, with old wounds and new, its fractures and feuds, and yet its unbreakable bonds.

About the Author

JANET PEERY's books include Alligator Dance (stories), What the Thunder Said (a novella and stories), and her first novel The River Beyond the World, which was a finalist for the National Book Award. She has received numerous honors for her fiction including the Rosenthal Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Whiting Foundation, the Guggenheim Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts, among others. She lives in Cape Charles, Virginia.
Product Details
ISBN: 9781250125088
ISBN-10: 1250125081
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publication Date: September 19th, 2017
Pages: 288
Language: English