Heaven, Indiana

Heaven, Indiana

by Jan Maher

Paperback(Book Club ed.)

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Overview

One hot week in August 1954, in Heaven, Indiana, a baby is delivered twice: once in a barn by her grandfather, the second time to the tent door of a carnival fortune-teller by her grandmother Helen. The baby, Nadja, becomes part of a long tradition of well-kept secrets in the tiny town of her birth. She grows up traveling with her adoptive grandmother, the fortune-teller, learning to develop her own gifts of precognition, reading the remains of lunches and dinners to see what lies ahead in her clients' lives.

Meanwhile, two other girls born in Heaven that same year are growing to maturity. Ellie Denson waits tables at Clara's Kitchen, and searches maps in her spare time, haunted by powerful urges to be Somewhere Else. Sue Ellen Sue Tipton marries her high school sweetheart and happily takes on the role of the town hairdresser, keeping herself informed on the latest in permanent waves and gossip, some of which revolves around Helen's temporary insanity and Lester's numerous affairs.

In spite of the penchant Heaven's denizens have for quietly getting into each other's business, a great many secrets manage to remain hidden, stuffed into apron pockets, tucked into attic trunks, locked into desk drawers. When Nadja's Granny decides to retire in Heaven, their reappearance in town begins to tease a number of these stories out into the open, with results that really give the town something to talk about. The stories emerge against the backdrop of Indiana's larger history of secrets, ranging from pre-Civil War anti-slavery societies to post-Reconstruction Klan activities.

Heaven, Indiana weaves the subtle humor and muted manners of the Hoosier State together with its sometimes foolish and sometimes devastating legacy of secrets to trace how Ellie Denson does, finally, manage to leave and Nadja does, finally, truly get to come home.

Named to Kirkus Reviews Best Books of 2018; 2018 winner LGBT category, American Fiction Award.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781943547029
Publisher: Jan Maher
Publication date: 10/20/2019
Edition description: Book Club ed.
Pages: 200
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.46(d)

About the Author

Jan Maher's fiction and poetry have been published in literary journals and anthologies including Atticus Review; Eclectica Magazine; Meat for Tea: The Valley Review; Ride 2: More Short FIction About Bicycles; Compass Roads: Poems about the Pioneer Valley, and A Flash of Words: 49 Flash-Fiction Stories. Her novel Earth As It Is was named a Best Indie of 2017 by Kirkus Reviews and American Fiction Awards 2018 LGBT Award Winner. Her novel Heaven, Indiana garnered Best Indie of 2018 designation from Kirkus Reviews. Her play Most Dangerous Women has been produced in dozens of venues in ten states since its debut performance in Seattle in 1990. Her books for educators and community activists include Most Dangerous Women: Bringing History to Life through Readers' Theater and History in the Present Tense (co-authored with Doug Selwyn).

She holds a PhD from The Union Institute and University in Interdisciplinary Studies and is a senior scholar at the Institute for Ethics in Public Life, State University of New York at Plattsburgh where she taught courses in gender and women's studies and education.

A native of central Indiana, she now lives in Greenfield, MA with her husband Doug Selwyn where she is active with Greening Greenfield, producing community events that bring together performance with environmental issues.

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