Available May 2014

The Blessings

Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers selection

"A family so real in all their sorrow, joy and complexity that they could be yours or mine ... bursting with wise observations about the nature of love and belonging."
—J. Courtney Sullivan, New York Times-bestselling author of The Engagements and Maine

Advance Praise

“Several generations of the Blessings, a Philadelphia-based, Irish-American family, come beautifully to life in a deceptively simple tale that examines the foibles, disappointments and passions that tie family members together... The author brings a depth of understanding to the human condition, including in her descriptions of Abby’s cousin Stephen, on the road to becoming a ne’er-do-well; her uncle Patrick, a successful eye doctor, contemplating infidelity; and Meghan coming to terms with her eating disorder... Despite these challenges, the Blessings rally round each other—whether that attention is wanted or not—and the reader leaves feeling lucky to have spent some time in their presence.”
Publishers Weekly, Starred Review

“Juska’s story is like leafing through an old family photo album... [t]he author has created an ordinary fictitious family and stitched together a multilayered, sympathetic account of its members' lives.”
—Kirkus Reviews

“We are in good hands with award-winning short story author Juska. She is a shrewd observer of human nature and has an outstanding ability to bring her characters to life on the page... this wonderfully readable work about family life will have you eagerly turning pages.”
—Library Journal

“There’s a certain kind of belonging that comes with being part of a large, extended Irish-American family. But, there’s a certain kind of loneliness, too. In The Blessings, Elise Juska captures how those mirror emotions of homesickness and restlessness, intimacy and secret-keeping, continuously send generations of the Blessing family beyond the Northeast Philadelphia neighborhood they call home, and then pull them back in again... Juska’s emotionally resonant storytelling will remain with you long after turning the last page.”
—Irish America


“In the tradition of Elizabeth Berg's and Alice McDermott's work, The Blessings is a knowing portrait of a sprawling Irish-American family in Philly, in all their shared strength and separate weaknesses. Elise Juska is deft and tender, letting us get close to her characters in their most vulnerable moments. The ties that bind are never simple, and often painful, but as one daughter acknowledges, 'these are the hidden intimacies, the private exchanges, on which she builds her life.”
—Stewart O'Nan, author of Songs for the Missing and Emily, Alone

“With a sharp and generous eye, Elise Juska charts the duality of family life in The Blessings. Each exquisitely layered story builds on top of the other, leaving the reader with a lasting portrait of what it means to be a part of a family in today's fractured world.”
—Siobhan Fallon, author of You Know When the Men Are Gone

“With each chapter, Juska takes readers into the life of a different family member, honoring the individuality that blossoms even amid the strong bonds of a family’s deep love. She draws intimate and detailed sketches of each of these characters, but the ultimate portrait is of the Blessing family as a whole. This heartfelt tribute to the ups and downs of a large, devoted family is warm, uplifting, and recommended for readers from families of all sizes.”