“In a style that never commits a flutter of extravagance, Sullivan draws us into the lives of the Raffertys and, in the rare miracle of fiction, makes us care about them as if they were our own family.”
Featured in Washington Post’s Best 10 Books of 2017.
Through her latest novel “Saints for All Occasions” author J. Courtney Sullivan investigates profoundly into the nature of family and sacrifice. The book is a tale of two sisters, Theresa and Nora, who immigrated from Ireland to the modern country of U.S at a quite young age. As a result of Theresa’s poor judgment, Nora sets into motion, a plan that rips apart both the sisters into different situations.
The striking aspect of this novel, which leaves a long lasting impression on its readers, is its exquisite manipulation of time. The story takes place in the present time, in the frame of a period when 50-year-old Patrick Rafferty loses control of his car and when he’s laid out at his funeral.
Saints for All Occasions beautifully showcases the inexhaustible efforts put in by one woman to control everything about the people whom she loves, which includes, most specifically, their pasts along with their identities.
Both Sullivan and the characters portrayed by her in this novel have one thing in common: having complete faith in the power of family bonds. In many aspects, Saints for All Occasions can be considered as a sad book that showcases the inner lives of the troubled characters that are elegantly rendered by the author with a lacing of craft and compassion.
But, towards the end of the novel, Sullivan reminds us of the fact that until the time we are alive, rifts can be healed and irrespective of the prevailing occasions, we can become the saints that our loved ones need.