The New York Times Review of Small Damages (and a brief accounting of kindnesses)

Friday, July 13, 2012

Twelve books, twelve years, four genres, and seven publishing houses ago, there was a lovely small New York Times review of a book I'd written called Into the Tangle of Friendship

Between that day and this one, I have been buoyed by readers and friends, by an agent and editors, by good-hearted bloggers and students, and of course by family in this strange but essential writing dream.  I have written odd books (a river speaks in one, corporate America is transformed into a Wonderland in another), "small" books, books that might have been more than they were and books that reached more readers than I thought possible.  I have kept writing because I can't help it, because it is, as I have said before, medicinal, because even when I tried to stop, I didn't know how stopping worked.  What does a life look like without story making and sentence crafting, without reaching and metaphor?  I don't know.  I don't want to find out.

Over the past few weeks, extraordinary kindnesses have been shown toward Small Damages, a book that I had worked on for many, many years.  Kindness within Philomel, that publishing phenom that has gifted me with the talents and deep hearts of my editor Tamra Tuller (do I love her? yes, I do), Michael Green (president and (also) writer of some of the best emails ever), Jessica Shoffel (publicist extraordinary—unbelievably smart and quick and precise and there), Julia Johnson (who told me once that she has a secret third eye), Jill Santopolo (that uber-bright cutie who forged the original link), a fantastically talented design and editorial team, and an amazingly generous sales team.  Kindness from interviewers like Abby Plesser and Dennis Abrams.  Kindness from magazine editors like Darcy Jacobs of Family Circle and Renee Fountain of Bella and the super nice people of the LA Times.  Kindness from friends and from bloggers, each of whom is so dear to me, so valued.  (In case you are wondering, the spectacular quilted cover of Small Damages above was created by blogger and friend, Wendy Robards of Caribousmom.)

That should be enough, truly, but a few days ago, something else happened.  The phone rang, and it was my agent, Amy Rennert.  Fortunately, I was sitting down, for Amy had called to read me Jen Doll's most amazing review of Small Damagesa review that appears in this weekend's New York Times.

We yearn, as writers, to be understood.  We yearn to be read with an open heart. We can't even believe our good fortune when this happens to us in the pages of the Times.  When we are read and assessed by one as intelligent and thoughtful as Jen Doll.

The Times.

I have always loved the Times.  Today I love Her even more than always and forever.

There are no words.

A final note:  I have been typing this blog post with fumbling fingers, and I'm quite sure that I have erred somewhere up there.  But my fumbling became a trembling when Jillian Cantor sent word that Publishers Weekly had named Small Damages among this week's best new books.

I'm floored.

Period.

18 comments:

sarah said...

Congratulations :-) I pick up my copy of You Are My Only today and so look forward to reading it.

Sarah Allen said...

Nobody deserves it as much as you. Period.

Congratulations :)

Sarah Allen
(my creative writing blog)

Patty Chang Anker said...

Smiling through and through for you - so much good karma coming back to you, so well deserved. xoxoxxoP

The1stdaughter said...

Again, so so thrilled for you Beth. You deserve every bit of this and more. All my love. xo

Wendy said...

Wow, wow, wow - SO deserved, Beth!! I am so glad you are getting this recognition so that more readers will discover your incredible talent. Congratulations, my friend!

Amy said...

I'm so happy for you Beth, I can't think of anyone who deserves it more.

off kilter said...

Can hardly wait to read the NYT review. Congratulations; it's so wonderful for this to happen to such a good writer, who takes the time to do it right. Sometimes, it works out! Yes, it does!

Serena said...

It is such great news and so well deserved!

A.S. King said...

This is AWESOME, Beth. Well deserved. You are fantastic. xo

Liviania said...

Congratulations. That's amazing news.

Teresa W. said...

I am so happy for you...and happy that you shared the great news with me so i could share it with our Combat class today...I will put your signing in Reading on my calendar. Smiles and more smiles for you!!!

Heather@The Flyleaf Review said...

Congratulations Beth, I am STOKED to see Small Damages receiving so much praise:)

patti.mallett_pp said...

Again, tears have sprung to my eyes for you, dear Beth. Your talent is obvious. Your goodness is clear. Your kindness has been felt by everyone you mention, I feel sure, as well as by me, a stranger. What goes around comes around. So happy that it's coming around again and again and again for you!!

Missy K said...

Delighted, pleased, clapping my hands with joy for you and all the generous and good words you've sent into the world-- see their tides now coming back to you?

Beth Kephart said...

My enormous thanks to all of you for being there for me right now. It means the world.

And Teresa, as always, you made Combat a party. I love Saturday mornings with you, even if I'm not, shall we say, the best at back kicks.

Michael G-G said...

I am excited. I loved YOU ARE MY ONLY. I know I will love SMALL DAMAGES. Waiting.

Richard Gilbert said...

I just read it—amazing review. Congratulations!

Lilian Nattel said...

Absolutely and thrillingly wonderful! An inspiration for perseverance.

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