if one of your family members was a first responder who lost his life
when the World Trade Center collapsed? Now imagine it's a decade later
and your family is gathering to celebrate his son's birthday. What
memories, unfinished business, and anger would you still be carrying,
even as you still harbor your love? And would your issues be the same as
Gail wakes with a pierced heart, same as every day. Her mouth is dry. She reaches for the glass of water on her nightstand, but it has warmed in the night. Next to her, Michael gently snores away last night's fun.—Small Mercies by Eddie Joyce (Penguin Paperback, 2016, p. 1)
- Setting: Staten Island, 2011
- Circumstances: As they get ready to celebrate his birthday, Bobby Jr. and his family remember his father--a firefighter who was killed in the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center. But the story is less about 9/11 than it is about a family whose inside drama is dusted with tragedy.
- Genre: contemporary fiction; family drama
- Themes: family, grief, fathers and sons, moving forward, making sense of the past, modern American life
- Characters: primarily the Amendalas, an Irish-Italian family; Gail, the mother; Michael, the father; Tina, the widow; Bobby Jr., the son; Peter, the lawyer brother; Franky, the alcoholic brother
- Reviews: Although no one implies that this is a flawless novel, almost all reviewers mention the believable characters and the truthful take on 21st-century America. They also mention that Small Mercies is not really about 9/11, instead it's about a family and how it has fared after the attacks.
- Something to know: this is a paperback back release; the book was originally published in 2015