Alumni Spotlight: Ethan Joella
by Writing Workshops Staff
A year ago
Here are a few blurbs from Writing Workshops Paris 2019 faculty Brandon Hobson and Diana Spechler:
"Ethan Joella has written a powerful and compelling novel about people whose lives are on the cusp of collapse in this richly textured story of hope and love. A Little Hope is an absorbing, propulsive, and elegantly written debut. I absolutely loved it."
—Brandon Hobson, National Book Award finalist and author of The Removed
"I can't promise you won't cry, but I can promise deft, minimalist prose, flesh-and-blood characters you'll want to hug, and a love story for the ages. With A Little Hope, Ethan Joella establishes himself as an unforgettable new voice."
—Diana Spechler, author of Who by Fire and Skinny
Ethan's novel is a deeply moving, life-affirming novel about residents in a small Connecticut town facing everyday fears and desires—a lost love, a stalled career, a diagnosis—that pulls at the heartstrings and provides hope, for readers of Olive Kitteridge.
In the small city of Wharton, Connecticut, lives are beginning to unravel. A husband betrays his wife. A son struggles with addiction. A widow misses her late spouse. At the heart of these interlinking stories is one couple: Freddie and Greg Tyler.
Greg has just been diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a brutal form of cancer. He intends to handle this the way he has faced everything else: through grit and determination. But can Greg successfully overcome his illness? How will Freddie and their daughter cope if he doesn’t? How do the other residents of Wharton learn to live with loss, and find happiness again?
An emotionally powerful debut that immerses the reader into a community of friends, family, and neighbors, A Little Hope celebrates the importance of small moments of connection and the ways that love and forgiveness can help us survive even the most difficult of life’s challenges.
Praise for A Little Hope
"Joella has an eye and ear for suburban pathos, highlighting tragedy and growth in equal parts. . . . Joella pays particular attention to the aftershocks of loss in the residents' lives but he doesn't dwell on the maudlin. . . . readers of Meg Wolitzer will gravitate to this immersive, illuminating novel."
“The residents of a small Connecticut city navigate grief and hope in Joella’s tender debut, a series of vignettes marked by a sense of connection and community…Throughout, the overlapping story lines keep readers turning the pages.”
"Joella captures the rhythms of life in Wharton and is skilled at identifying both shifts in the weather and events that mark the passage of time in moments so subtle as to be almost undetectable. Readers who enjoy fiction that reflects the struggles and joys of their daily lives will find much that will resonate here."
"A Little Hope is a sweet and tender take on small town heartbreak, where everybody hurts, and everybody finds some saving comfort, whether in the world or in one another."
—Stewart O’Nan, author of The Night Country and Songs for the Missing
We're rooting for you, Ethan! Thank you for letting us be a small part of your writing journey.
Learn more about Ethan's' work by visiting his website here.
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