Laura Harrington's award winning plays, musicals, operas, and radio plays have been widely produced in the U.S., Canada, and elsewhere. Alice Bliss is her first novel.
June 2012 Debut of the Month. Tragically sad and life-affirming at the same time, this brilliant debut novel of how teenager Alice Bliss copes with the loss of her father is a literary treat that really deserves to be on your reading list. Strong storytelling combines with emotional dialogue and Laura Harrington’s playwright background is evident as it sings off the page. Read the first chapter and you will be hooked.
Billy Flynn always wanted to fly. An attractive young man, a patriot, he is also an artist with pencil and paint and has an abiding affinity for nature. It's 1970, and he cannot resist the call to serve in Vietnam. A year later he is the only survivor when his helicopter is shot down.A wounded Billy returns home to his family in upstate New York, especially to Nell, his adoring younger sister. In his absence, the woman he loves has mysteriously disappeared. His wounds have crippled his ability to even hold a pencil, and his hearing loss has cut him off from the natural world. Nell, a brilliant student headed for a career in science, will do all that's possible to save him.A Catalog of Birds is the story of a family and a community confronted with a loss of innocence and wounds that may never heal. The legacy of war and its destruction of nature is seared onto the memories of a small American town. Laura Harrington has written a tale of forgiveness, of ourselves and those we love. Illuminated by heartbreak and promise, the novel is alive with spirit, wonder, and hope for the future.
Outside the back window Alice can see the outlines of the garden, some of the furrows visible under the snow, stretching away in long thin rows. She cant imagine doing the garden without her dad. Its his thing; shes always thought of herself as his assistant at best. She cant imagine doing anything without her dad and she starts to feel like she cant breathe. And then she looks at him. Just looks at him as he watches the fire with muffin crumbs on his lap.Ill write to you.I know, sweetheart.Every day.From Alice BlissWhen Alice Bliss learns that her father, Matt, is being deployed to Iraq, shes heartbroken. Alice idolizes her father, loves working beside him in their garden, accompanying him on the occasional roofing job, playing baseball. When he ships out, Alice is faced with finding a way to fill the emptiness he has left behind.Matt will miss seeing his daughter blossom from a tomboy into a full-blown teenager. Alice will learn to drive, join the track team, go to her first dance, and fall in love, all while trying to be strong for her mother, Angie, and take care of her precocious little sister, Ellie. But the smell of Matt is starting to fade from his blue shirt, which Alice wears every day, and the phone calls are never long enough.Alice Bliss is a profoundly moving coming-of-age novel about love and its many variationsthe support of a small town looking after its own; love between an absent father and his daughter; the complicated love between an adolescent girl and her mother; and an exploration of new love with the boy next door. These characters struggles amid uncertain times echo our own, lending the novel an immediacy and a poignancy that are both relevant and real. At once universal and very personal, Alice Bliss is a transforming story about those who are left at home during wartime and a teenage girl bravely facing the future.