THE VIRTUES OF OXYGEN
The Virtues of Oxygen is the heartrending story of unlikely bonds made under dire straits. Holly is a young widow with two sons living in a ramshackle house in the same small town where she grew up wealthy. Now barely able to make ends meet editing the town’s struggling newspaper, she manages to stay afloat with help from her family. Then her mother suffers a stroke, and Holly’s world begins to completely fall apart.
Vivian has lived an extraordinary life, despite the fact that she has been confined to an iron lung since contracting polio as a child. Her condition means she requires constant monitoring, and the close-knit community joins together to give her care and help keep her alive. As their town buckles under the weight of the Great Recession, Holly and Vivian, two very different women both touched by pain, forge an unlikely alliance that may just offer each an unexpected salvation.
When Lucy’s best friend and secret big love Harlan dies of cancer with only thirty-three years, a world collapses for the young woman. Slowly she tries to process the loss after his death and to find it back to life. Her greatest consolation in this difficult time are the loving e-mails that Harlan has left her and gets them – posthumously – once a month. One of these messages gives her the power to adopt Mat, a little boy from Russia. But the path to mother happiness is stony, full of cultural obstacles, language and bureaucratic barriers. When suddenly Mats’s physical father emerges and claims the little one for himself, Lucy does everything to protect her son.
In her touching debut novel Susan Schoenberger tells a moving story about love, loss and the courage of the new beginning.
German Edition of “A Watershed Year” as translated by Christina Rodriquez
Als Lucys bester Freund und heimliche große Liebe Harlan mit nur dreiunddreißig Jahren an Krebs stirbt, bricht für die junge Frau eine Welt zusammen. Langsam versucht sie nach seinem Tod den Verlust zu verarbeiten und wieder zurück ins Leben zu finden. Ihr größter Trost sind in dieser schweren Zeit die liebevollen E-Mails, die Harlan ihr hinterlassen hat und die sie – posthum – einmal im Monat bekommt. Eine dieser Nachrichten gibt ihr die Kraft, Mat, einen kleinen Jungen aus Russland zu adoptieren. Doch der Weg zum Mutterglück ist steinig, voller kultureller Hindernisse, sprachlicher und bürokratischer Barrieren. Als plötzlich auch noch Mats leiblicher Vater auftaucht und den Kleinen für sich beansprucht, setzt Lucy alles daran, ihren Sohn zu beschützen.
In ihrem berührenden Debütroman erzählt Susan Schoenberger eine bewegende Geschichte über Liebe, Verlust und den Mut des Neubeginns.
PRAISE FOR A WATERSHED YEAR
A Watershed Year traces with subtle humor and grace the months after the death of Lucy’s beloved friend Harlan. Schoenberger’s spot-on storytelling adeptly draws out the ways in which our closest relationships can be imperfect and yet continue to transform us. The story often tugged me to tears-as much for the truths it reveals about human interconnectedness as for the pain of Lucy’s grief.
However, I never felt manipulated or yanked unwillingly to boo-hoo over standard sorrows. Her characters are lovably
quirky yet complex enough to be believable. You’ve never met them before, and yet you know they exist!
— Juliette Fay, best-selling author of Shelter Me and Deep Down True
“Susan Schoenberger takes us to the softer places of the heart in her debut novel, A WATERSHED YEAR, where love — in all its forms and glory — transforms grief into grace.”
— Patti Callahan Henry, NYT bestselling author. Coming Up for Air is her latest.
Thoughtful and uplifting reading of the power of a mother and family, A Watershed Year is an excellent pick.
— Midwest Book Review
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