Out of Esau
by Michelle Webster-Hein
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Pub Date 11 Oct 2022 | Archive Date 01 Oct 2022
Catapult, Counterpoint Press, and Soft Skull Press, Counterpoint
Robert Glory has never quite felt as though he fit in the small town of Esau, Michigan, but he finds solace in his role as the pastor of Esau Baptist and in his spare, orderly routine. When Susan Shearer arrives at his church seeking the strength to stay true to her increasingly volatile husband, neither expect that their immediate connection will upend both of their lives. As their relationship deepens and Susan’s life at home becomes more unstable, Robert and Susan are forced to confront the wounds that have shaped them and discover if they still have the power to change.
Told from five different perspectives—including Susan’s husband, Randy, her brilliant but high-strung young daughter, Willa, and Robert’s long-estranged mother, Leotie—Out of Esau is a visceral look at the dynamics of an abusive marriage, a nuanced portrait of faith and its loss, and a sweeping story of redemption.
"A graceful fiction debut . . . Soulful . . . With characters yearning for intimacy and acceptance, Hein delicately probes the meanings of family, freedom, and desire. A gentle tale of love and loneliness."
“From the cold, wet bleakness of a loyal wife’s Michigan autumn, writer Michelle Webster Hein skillfully stokes the warmth of redemption in a story that pairs like-minded souls with the hope of second chances. A lovely and engaging work of faith and family.”
—Sophfronia Scott, author of Unforgivable Love and All I Need to Get By
“Out of Esau is a wonder of a novel. I fell in love with these characters and found myself continuously astonished by the depth and range of Michelle Webster Hein’s emotional intelligence, lyric touch, and ability to fully inhabit the tender bodies of others. An unflinching look at poverty, place, generational trauma, resiliency, faith, spirit, and love, these pages radiate with compassion and generosity, and shimmer with moments of beauty and insight. Out of Esau is a propulsive and masterfully spun web, one I can’t wait to gift again and again.”
—Robin MacArthur, author of Heart Spring Mountain
"With gorgeous, glittering prose, Michelle Webster Hein explores a community in rural Michigan, looking at family, marriage, and faith with a precise, compassionate eye. A novel of rare honesty and beauty."
—Karen E. Bender, author of Refund and The New Order
“Out of Esau is a tremendous achievement. A literary page-turner with prose that dips and soars, and characters that leap off the page. I was deeply moved by this tale of love, faith, and family, and I know you will be, too. This wonderful novel is one of the best books of the year.”
—David Heska Wanbli Weiden, author of Winter Counts
Available on NetGalley
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