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This Is Your Life, Harriet Chance!

Cover of This Is Your Life, Harriet Chance!

This Is Your Life, Harriet Chance!

A Novel

"Insightful, richly entertaining . . . Evison writes humanely and with good humor of his characters, who, like the rest of us, muddle through, too often without giving ourselves much of a break. A lovely, forgiving character study that's a pleasure to read." —Kirkus Reviews, starred review

With Bernard, her husband of fifty-five years, now in the grave, seventy-eight-year-old Harriet Chance impulsively sets sail on an ill-conceived Alaskan cruise that her late husband had planned. But what she hoped would be a voyage leading to a new lease on life becomes a surprising and revelatory journey into Harriet's past.
Jonathan Evison has crafted a bighearted novel with an endearing heroine at the helm. Part dysfunctional love story, part poignant exploration of the mother-daughter relationship, nothing is what it seems in this tale of acceptance, reexamination, and forgiveness.

"A terrific novel, funny and moving, wistful and wise. Jonathan Evison's writing crackles on the page." —Jess Walter, author of Beautiful Ruins

"This Is Your Life, Harriet Chance! is as sweet as it is inventive, profound as it is hilarious, unflinching as it is bighearted." —Maria Semple, author of Where'd You Go, Bernadette

"[An] irresistible, inventive novel full of important ideas about how we live our lives as parents, children, partners, and human beings . . . Evison is a ridiculously gifted storyteller." —Jami Attenberg, author of The Middlesteins

"A generous and wise tale, told with Evison's trademark verve and charisma, This Is Your Life, Harriet Chance! is a deeply felt and deeply comforting novel." —Patrick deWitt, author of The Sisters Brothers

"This Is Your Life, Harriet Chance! has all the wonderful snap and sizzle we've come to expect from Jonathan Evison's work, and as much heart as any novel I've read in recent years." —Ben Fountain, author of Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk
"Both uplifting and melancholy, funny and thought-provoking, this entertaining read speaks directly to the importance of acceptance and healing." —Booklist

"Insightful, richly entertaining . . . Evison writes humanely and with good humor of his characters, who, like the rest of us, muddle through, too often without giving ourselves much of a break. A lovely, forgiving character study that's a pleasure to read." —Kirkus Reviews, starred review

With Bernard, her husband of fifty-five years, now in the grave, seventy-eight-year-old Harriet Chance impulsively sets sail on an ill-conceived Alaskan cruise that her late husband had planned. But what she hoped would be a voyage leading to a new lease on life becomes a surprising and revelatory journey into Harriet's past.
Jonathan Evison has crafted a bighearted novel with an endearing heroine at the helm. Part dysfunctional love story, part poignant exploration of the mother-daughter relationship, nothing is what it seems in this tale of acceptance, reexamination, and forgiveness.

"A terrific novel, funny and moving, wistful and wise. Jonathan Evison's writing crackles on the page." —Jess Walter, author of Beautiful Ruins

"This Is Your Life, Harriet Chance! is as sweet as it is inventive, profound as it is hilarious, unflinching as it is bighearted." —Maria Semple, author of Where'd You Go, Bernadette

"[An] irresistible, inventive novel full of important ideas about how we live our lives as parents, children, partners, and human beings . . . Evison is a ridiculously gifted storyteller." —Jami Attenberg, author of The Middlesteins

"A generous and wise tale, told with Evison's trademark verve and charisma, This Is Your Life, Harriet Chance! is a deeply felt and deeply comforting novel." —Patrick deWitt, author of The Sisters Brothers

"This Is Your Life, Harriet Chance! has all the wonderful snap and sizzle we've come to expect from Jonathan Evison's work, and as much heart as any novel I've read in recent years." —Ben Fountain, author of Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk
"Both uplifting and melancholy, funny and thought-provoking, this entertaining read speaks directly to the importance of acceptance and healing." —Booklist

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About the Author-
  • Jonathan Evison is the author of four novels, including This Is Your Life, Harriet Chance!, The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving, West of Here, and All About Lulu. He lives on the coast of Washington State with his wife and two children.

Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    July 27, 2015
    Harriet Chance, a 78-year-old Seattle native, gets an unexpected phone call informing her that her husband, Bernard, now dead, had won a trip on an Alaskan cruise at a charity auction and failed to pick up his winnings. With the voucher set to expire, Harriet decides to go out of her comfort zone and bring a friend on the trip. The trip causes Harriet to question everything she thought she knew about her past and her relationships. Evison (The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving) chooses a second-person narrative to delve into the mind-set of Harriet, a woman who seems estranged from not only her close family (including favored but distant son Skip and her troubled recovering addict daughter Caroline) but from herself. The time line skips back in forth: from her wedding day at 22 as a pregnant bride, to her attempts to cast off her domestic duties and reenter the work force (“Look at you, Harriet Chance, so diligent, so fastidious in your attention to detail!”). Evison’s voice is buoyant and cheeky as he unveils the deep traumas that form Harriet’s sense of herself, but there are missteps—namely, a secondary narrative in which Bernard Chance risks being barred from a sketchily described afterlife to try to communicate with Harriet. Still, Evison succeeds in crafting a believable and gut-wrenching story, particularly Harriet’s relationship with her daughter and their efforts to accept and love one another. Agent: Mollie Glick, Foundry Literary + Media.

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    Algonquin Books
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This Is Your Life, Harriet Chance!
A Novel
Jonathan Evison
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