A fresh, funny, and wisely observed debut novel about marriage-about the love, longing and ambivalence exposed when a husband takes the baby on a highly unusual outing
When Veronica Reed wakes up one frigid January morning, two things are "off"-first of all, she has had a good night's sleep, which hasn't happened in months, and second, both her husband and her baby are gone. Grateful for the much-needed rest, Veronica doesn't, at first, seriously question her husband's trip out to breakfast with baby Clara. Little does she know, her spouse has fled lower Manhattan, with Clara, for some R&R in the Caribbean.
Told through alternating points of view, The Sunshine When She's Gone explores the life-changing impact of parenthood on a couple as individuals and as partners. Thea Goodman brings us into intimacies made tense by sleep-deprivation and to losses and gains made more real by acknowledging them. Here is the story of a couple pushed to the edge and a desperate father's attempt give them both space to breathe.
Thea Goodman has received the Columbia Fiction Award, a Pushcart Prize Special Mention and fellowships at Yaddo and Ragdale; her short stories have appeared in several journals, notably New England Review, Other Voices and Columbia. Born in New York City, she studied at Sarah Lawrence and earned her MFA from Brooklyn College, CUNY. She has taught writing at The School of The Art Institute of Chicago, and lives in Chicago with her husband and children.
Goodman's spot-on descriptions… will be acutely recognizable to readers with children.
Goodman brings compassion and humor to the domestic struggles of new parents trying to come to terms with the changes to themselves, their spouses and their marriage 'after baby.'
The Sunshine When She's Gone is a fresh breath of fiction with rich characters and an engrossing plot, in which Goodman makes the drudgery of new parenting seem utterly exciting. . . . a fast-paced, riveting story out of the pitfalls of new parenthood.
Manhattanites, lovers, parents, readers: This gorgeously human novel is not to be missed.
On the one hand ... a comedy of manners. . . .On the other hand . . . a darker, raw look at what happens to a person's identity when nobody's looking.
A page-turning portrait of a couple in crisis.
. . . This book is so good. . . Goodman's language has an understated poetry to it, particularly in illustrating the relentlessness of raising a baby. . . She is at her best in describing the selfish, often bewildering feelings of new parents handicapped by sleep deprivation, when the constant buzzing irritation of wakefulness twists and magnifies a spouse's shortcomings into fatal character flaws.
Sprightly . . . Like every comedy of errors, this novel makes us wince, then grin with relief.
Thea Goodman shines in The Sunshine When She's Gone.
A deft account of love and its sacrifices.
[An] exhausted-new-parent fantasy. . . Readers…laughed a lot.
First-time novelist Goodman is a master of sustained, 'are-you-KIDDING-me?' tension as John and Veronica compete for the title of Worst Parents Ever. New parents should find validation that their own sleep-deprived insanity is normal and will pass.
A sobering tale of two people discovering what it means to be a parent.
Sharp, intuitive, and empathetic. . . Goodman offers a wickedly incisive take on the pressures of parenthood and the resiliency of marital trust.
Snug and elegant. . . Thea Goodman, a prodigiously talented first-time novelist, distills the keen drama of first-time parenting. . . . The intimacy with which Goodman treats her characters leaves us likewise lucky voyeurs.
I'm writing this blurb on very little sleep, because I stayed up far too late finishing The Sunshine When She's Gone. Thea Goodman's novel could deprive you of sleep too. It's suspenseful, funny, realistic, melancholy. She has captured the secret thoughts of new parents so flawlessly, I wonder if she's installed a listening device into my brain.
Thea Goodman has made something I would've thought impossible: an edge-of-your-seat narrative about parenting a small child. Her emotional investment in her characters is complete as they confront each other, themselves, and the heavy weight of new love.
Thea Goodman's astute debut novel poses the question, What if you were to step out of your imbedded life? And her discerning mind answers it with a tale of Manhattanites more inextricably bound together than they might imagine.
From its first alarming domestic scene to its far-from-inevitable, unbearably true conclusion, The Sunshine When She's Gone is a faultless portrait of a marriage in crisis and the precarious paths we all must take to keep our lives in balance. Ever been in love? This book will shake you, jolt you, jar you, and wake you up to life.