Guilt Trip

J. Courtney Sullivan
Alfred A. Knopf, $25.95, 384 pp.

“If we had a keen vision and feeling of all ordinary human life,” George Eliot wrote in a famous passage in Middlemarch, “it would be like hearing the grass grow and the squirrel’s heartbeat, and we should die of that roar which lies on the other side of silence. As it is, the quickest of us walk about well wadded with stupidity.”

J. Courtney Sullivan’s new novel, Maine, isn’t quite Middlemarch. (The latter wouldn’t feature a bikini-clad woman on its cover,...

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About the Author

Mollie Wilson O'Reilly is Commonweal's associate editor at large. She blogs at dotCommonweal.