Amity & Sorrow

Peggy Riley. Little, Brown, $25.99 (320p) ISBN 978-0-316-22088-0
Playwright Riley’s debut novel is a harsh but compassionate look at nature vs. nurture through the lens of a polygamous cult. Sisters Amity and Sorrow were born and raised by their mother, Amaranth, the first of the 50 wives of a self-proclaimed prophet, the leader—“preacher, father, husband”—of a doomsday sect. When a confrontation with the law results in gunshots and a fire, Amaranth grabs her teenage daughters, steals a car, and drives for four days until, exhausted, she crashes near a gas station in rural Oklahoma. Sorrow, a self-righteous teenage sociopath who will destroy anyone and anything to prove she is God’s chosen one, locks herself in the bathroom, where she has a miscarriage. The more compliant Amity is torn between her mother and her sister, on one side, and a world she’s never experienced on the other. As they explore this new world, meeting people and making their own choices for the first time, Sorrow, with off-putting self-involvement masquerading as religious fervor, tries to destroy everyone who tries to help them. Riley’s mastery keeps this unusual tale from descending into melodrama, and she makes no easy choices. Sorrow’s desperate escalations lead to an unsurprising revelation that is no less powerful for its foreshadowing. A fierce and disturbing novel. Agent: Joy Harris, the Joy Harris Literary Agency. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 01/07/2013
Release date: 04/16/2013
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FORMATS
Open Ebook - 320 pages - 978-0-316-22089-7
Paperback - 978-0-7553-9437-1
Hardcover - 443 pages - 978-1-4104-5945-9
Paperback - 312 pages - 978-0-316-22087-3
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