An Italian Wife
"I loved Ann Hood's An Italian Wife...a multi-generational masterpiece." Wally Lamb
"An Italian Wife is glorious."
Over a dozen years ago I began writing stories about the Rimaldi's, a fictional Italian-American family who, like my own Italian-American family, arrived in Rhode Island in the late 1800's. The Rimaldi's struggle with homesickness and alienation, and the desire to be American as they try to stay connected to their culture and traditions. When I finished a Rimaldi story last year, I realized that I had over 300 pages about the family. I printed them, placed them in chronological order--spanning one hundred years!--wrote two more, and with great delight created a family saga that centers on Josephine Rimaldi and her children and grandchildren. Josephine and her daughters and granddaughters seek love and acceptance, suffer loss and disappointment, live through wars and historical upheavals. But like all of us, they make their way--in family, in regret, in dreams, and desire. An Italian Wife is, really, everyone's story.
The Obituary Writer
"This is a beautifully structured, deeply empathic book that reminds the reader that a life of waiting is a life wasted."
The Washington Post
"It is a rare novelist who can summon the creative nerve to plumb the depths of grief, but that is just what Ann Hood does here with such compassion and grief." Andre Dubus lll
The idea for The Obituary Writer came to me when I was asked to write someone's obituary--one of the hardest things I've ever had to do. But when I finished, the character of Vivien Lowe, and obituary writer in 1919 California, was born. Writing obituaries not only helps the families of the dead, but also helps Vivien come to terms with the loss of her lover in the 1906 earthquake in San Francisco. Vivien's story of searching for that lover alternates with the story of Claire, an unhappy wife who is struggling to find herself, on the day JFK is inaugurated. My great delight in writing this novel was to have these women's lives intersect in a surprising and profound way.
The Knitting Circle
"Acutely moving." People
"A wondrously simple book about something complicated:the nearly unendurable process of enduring a great loss."
The Washington Post
In 2002, my five year old daughter Grace died suddenly from a virulent form of strep. In the months that followed, my lifelong sources of comfort--words--abandoned me. That autumn, I took a friend's advice and learned to knit. I often say that I knit my way back from grief. Soon I was reading again, and then, finally, writing again. The Knitting Circle is a novel about many things: loss, hope, love, knitting, friendship, and the power of stories in our lives.
Comfort: A Journey Through Grief
An Entertainment Weekly Top Ten Nonfiction Book of 2008
A New York Times Editor's Choice
"Rarely do memoirs of grief combine anguish, love, and fury with such elegance." Entertianment Weekly
This is my story of losing Grace, my funny, smart, beautiful five year olf daughter suddenly in 2002. When I submitted an essay to Tin House for their theme issue on Lies, it was the first thing I wrote after Gracie died. They published it under the title Comfort. That essay won a Pushcart Prize and was selected as one of the 100 Notable essays of that year, as was, Now I Need a Place to Hide Away, which was published in the Modern Love column in The New York Times. The responses to those two essays and another about knitting and grief that ran in Real Simple, showed me that I wasn't alone stumbling through grief, and re-affirmed to me that people need to know that very thing. I didn't set out to write a memoir. I set out to show how, bit by bit, I made my way through this terrible journey of grief, and found my way back to hope and love.
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The Red Thread
"The Red Thread is a work of aching beauty and indelible grace. A novel that elicits nothing less than wonder." Dennis Lehane
"Ann Hood has created a searingly moving story about the extraordinary, even magical ways that lives unravel and then connect."
The Red Thread was inspired my family's decision to adopt our daughter Annabelle from China in 2005. Although the characters on that journey in the novel are all fictional, their desire to create families is universal and true. Like many adoptive parents, I wondered about the brave woman who gave up her daughter. Those imaginings led me to write the stories of six women in China who make that same painful decision. The Chinese belief in the red thread inspired both the title, and the metaphor of the story. There exists a silken red thread of destiny. It is said that this magical cord may tangle or stretch but never break. When a child is born, that invisible red thread connects it to all the people--past, present. and future--who will play a part in that child's life.
Knitting Yarns: Writers on Knitting
"Poignant, funny, and moving." Bookreporter
When I became a knitter, I quickly noticed how many other writers were knitters. Or wannabe knitters. Or frustrated knitters. Their stories, told to me at writing workshops, cocktail parties, conferences or over dinner, made me laugh and cry in equal measure. The idea to edit an anthology of writers writing about knitting led to this dizzying array of contributors. Barbara Kingsolver, Ann Patchett, Andre Dubus lll, Anita Shreve, Elizabeth Berg...the list is mindblowing, the essays gorgeous, the anthology a great read and a great gift for knitters and non-knitters alike.
Ssshhhh...stay tuned for Knitting Purls, even more of your favorite writers writing about knitting. Coming in 2015!
Somewhere Off The Coast of Maine
"Brilliant." The New York Times
Somewhere Off the Coast of Maine was my first novel, published in 1987 and amazingly it has never gone out of print! Just yesterday I received a beautiful email from someone who had just read it for the first time and from someone who had just re-read it. The story of three women coming of age in the 1960's, it began as interconnected short stories that I brought to the Breadloaf Writers Conference. Picture me there: a flight attendant for TWA, terrified and exhilarated, among all these real writers. A few short years later, this novel was published. Sometimes I still pinch myself to be sure it's all real.
An Ornithologist's Guide to Life
"These tales are unpretentious, sometimes funny, sometimes heartbreaking, but all written from a position of tenderness so profound that at any moment, on any page, feeling bursts, explodes, into painful knowledge or knowledgeable pain."
The Washington Post
"Gorgeous and haunting." Vanity Fair
How I love to write short stories! Beginning writers think they're easy to write. But oh dear! a good short story takes months or even years to get right. Here are eleven of mine that I'm most proud of. The title story ran in Glimmertrain. The opening story was published in The Paris Review. I'm so proud to have collected them and the others here for you to read and enjoy.