THE RESURRECTION OF JOAN ASHBY

Cherise Wolas

“[A] stunning debut…reminds me of my most favorite authors: J.D. Salinger, Carson McCullers, Truman Capote, Joan Didion.” —A.M. Homes

I viewed the consumptive nature of love as a threat to serious women. But the wonderful man I just married believes as I do—work is paramount, absolutely no children—and now love seems to me quite marvelous.

These words are spoken to a rapturous audience by Joan Ashby, a brilliant and intense literary sensation acclaimed for her explosively dark and singular stories.

When Joan finds herself unexpectedly pregnant, she is stunned by Martin’s delight,

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“[A] stunning debut…reminds me of my most favorite authors: J.D. Salinger, Carson McCullers, Truman Capote, Joan Didion.” —A.M. Homes

I viewed the consumptive nature of love as a threat to serious women. But the wonderful man I just married believes as I do—work is paramount, absolutely no children—and now love seems to me quite marvelous.

These words are spoken to a rapturous audience by Joan Ashby, a brilliant and intense literary sensation acclaimed for her explosively dark and singular stories.

When Joan finds herself unexpectedly pregnant, she is stunned by Martin’s delight, his instant betrayal of their pact. She makes a fateful, selfless decision then, to embrace her unintentional family.

Challenged by raising two precocious sons, it is decades before she finally completes her masterpiece novel. Poised to reclaim the spotlight, to resume the intended life she gave up for love, a betrayal of Shakespearean proportion forces her to question every choice she has made.

Epic, propulsive, incredibly ambitious, and dazzlingly written, The Resurrection of Joan Ashby is a story about sacrifice and motherhood, the burdens of expectation and genius. Cherise Wolas’s gorgeous debut introduces an indelible heroine candid about her struggles and unapologetic in her ambition.

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  • Flatiron Books
  • Hardcover
  • August 2017
  • 544 Pages
  • 9781250081438

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$27.99

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About Cherise Wolas

Cherise Wolas is a writer, lawyer, and film producer. A native of Los Angeles, she lives in New York City with her husband. The Resurrection of Joan Ashby is her debut.

Author Website

Praise

Indie Next List pick for September
Entertainment Weekly’s Thirteen Books to Read in August
San Diego Magazine
’s Your Book Shelf: 5 Books to Read in August

The Resurrection of Joan Ashby is a stunning debut—because there is nothing debut about it. It arrives so fully realized that it stuns as it entertains, as it twirls the reader on the sharp point of a #2 pencil. Wolas is a writer in full command of some impressive powers—one might even call them special powers. There is a joyous embrace to her work—to her exploration of the life and mind of her main character, the author Joan Ashby. Ashby is so well rendered that I found myself jealous of her (and Wolas) and also wishing she were my best friend and that we had a standing drinks date. Wolas is singular in her voice—and yet the delicacy, the specificity reminds me of my most favorite authors: J.D. Salinger, Carson McCullers, Truman Capote, Joan Didion.”A.M. Homes, New York Times bestselling author of May We Be Forgiven, Winner of the Women’s Prize for Fiction

“This breathtaking…novel will do for motherhood what Gone Girl (2012) did for marriage. ‘A story requires two things: a great story to tell and the bravery to tell it,’ Joan observes. Wolas’ debut expertly checks off both boxes.”Booklist, starred review

“This is the kind of book that pulls you under and you go willingly. And when it’s over, you come up for air and see anew. In giving us the story of one woman’s struggle to write her own life, Wolas captures worlds in worlds here, and lives in lives. As many currents run in a single river, The Resurrection of Joan Ashby is rich and wide, and deep.”Sarah Blake, New York Times bestselling author of The Postmistress 

Discussion Questions

1. Discuss the novel’s title. How is Joan “resurrected” over the course of the novel?

2. Do you agree that “treacheries experienced in childhood are among the most difficult to overcome, or to forgive”? How is Joan shaped by her childhood, and how are her husband and children? Discuss the ways in which treachery affects their family dynamic. What do you believe is the role of nature vs. nurture in terms of ambition and success?

3. Daniel reflects: “It is a long-borne burden, knowing what you lack, and I knew what I lacked….Where, I thought, was the lost and found for discarded genius, from which I could select what I desperately wanted and needed?” How does this novel define “genius”? What is the relationship between genius and work in these characters’ lives?

4. Joan says in an interview: “Love was more than simply inconvenient; its consumptive nature always a threat to serious women. I had seen too often what happened to serious women in love, their sudden, unnatural lightheartedness, their new wardrobe of happiness their prior selves would never have worn, the loss of their forward momentum. I wanted no such conversion, no vulnerability to needless distraction.” Do you agree? How do Joan’s views on love shift over the course of the novel?

5. What role do the excerpts of Joan’s stories and novels play in The Resurrection of Joan Ashby? Did you read them as a lens into her character, ambitions, and perspective on motherhood? Do you have a favorite excerpt?