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Small Mercies

A Novel

This book can be downloaded and read in iBooks on your Mac or iOS device.


“An intimate family portrait.”
The New York Times
“Eddie Joyce’s terrific first novel is so American that the story might as well have taken place at the base of the Statue of Liberty.”
—Richard Russo
“An inside look at one Staten Island family’s struggle with grief . . . [A] poignant, deeply affecting tale.” 
Martha Stewart Living, a Book Club selection
“[A] terrific debut novel. . . . Joyce layers . . . different characters’ perspectives nimbly and skillfully, infusing his portrait of a messy, complicated, loving family with heartfelt emotion.”
—Sara Vilkomerson, Entertainment Weekly, A-
A startling and tender portrait of one family’s struggle to make peace with their son’s death

An ingeniously layered narrative, told over the course of one week, Eddie Joyce’s debut novel masterfully depicts an Italian-Irish American family on Staten Island and their complicated emotional history. Ten years after the loss of Bobby—the Amendola family’s youngest son—everyone is still struggling to recover from the firefighter’s unexpected death. Bobby’s mother, Gail; his widow, Tina; his older brothers Peter, the corporate lawyer, and Franky, the misfit; and his father, Michael, have all dealt with their grief in different ways. But as the family gathers together for Bobby Jr.’s birthday party, they must each find a way to accept a new man in Tina’s life while reconciling their feelings for their lost loved one.

In unflinching but lyrical prose, Joyce shows us one mother’s struggle to keep her family together and preserve the memory of her son. Following Gail as she moves from the corner offices of white-shoe Manhattan law firms to the blue-collar gin mills of the outer boroughs, Small Mercies reveals a different New York, one that exists in the hearts and minds of its inhabitants.

Presented through multiple points of view, Small Mercies explores the conflicts and deep attachments that exist within families. Heart-wrenching and profoundly relatable, Joyce’s debut is a love letter to Staten Island and a deeply affecting portrait of an American family.

From the Hardcover edition.

From Publishers Weekly

Jan 26, 2015 – Joyce's debut gives us a close portrait of a working-class Irish-Italian American family on Staten Island marked by the tragedy of 9/11. The Amendolas matriarch Gail, a newly retired teacher, her husband, Michael, a former firefighter, and their grown children Peter and Franky are still adjusting to life after the loss of their youngest son, Bobby, who was in his late 20s when the towers fell. The novel's events take place nine years later, in the week leading up to Bobby Jr.'s birthday. Tina, Bobby's widow and Gail's close confidant in grief, reveals that she's started seeing someone. This admission rocks Gail to her core, and she spends the week ruminating on how best to tell the rest of the family before they all get together at the party. Peter, the most ambitious son, has put Staten Island behind him, rising to partner at a top law firm. In contrast, Franky can't move on, "a drunken, ruined memorial to his dead brother," his anger often getting the best of him. Though Joyce writes with sensitivity about his grief-stricken characters, each one is familiar and somewhat stereotypical, resulting in a story more banal than gripping. But there's comfort in this kind of predictable fare, and it's clear that Joyce, a native of Staten Island, has deep affection for his characters and the pride they feel in their local rituals.

Customer Reviews

The Forgotten Borough

This amazing debut novel is a terrific read. Seen from the vantage points of the members of a family who lost one of their own on September 11th.
Characters come alive swiftly. Honesty prevails.

Small Mercies
View in iTunes
  • $9.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Literary
  • Published: Mar 10, 2015
  • Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
  • Seller: Penguin Group (USA) Inc.
  • Print Length: 368 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

Customer Ratings

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