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Broken for You
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"The dead, Margaret thought. They can be so loud." So muses the protagonist of this dreamy, powerful tale of familial warring, secrets and redemption. When elderly Margaret Hughes discovers that she has a malignant brain tumor, she refuses treatment and decides to take a nice young tenant into her huge, lonely Seattle mansion for company. What she gets is Wanda Schultz, a tough-as-nails stage manager who is secretly seeking the man who left her and prone to inexplicable weeping breakdowns. Wanda, ignorant of Margaret's illness, is intrigued by the museum-like house and its eccentric owner-so when Margaret unexpectedly invites her to a drink-champagne-and-break-the-priceless-antique-china party for two, she's delighted. But a dark history lurks; the houseful of gorgeous antique porcelain comes from Margaret's father's WWII pilfering of European Jewish homes. Meanwhile, Wanda's father, who deserted her years ago, is on the road trying to heal, and Margaret's mother's ghost is haunting the Seattle mansion, lounging about in expensive peignoirs and criticizing her only daughter. Wrestling to keep the dead and the ghosts of their pasts at bay, the two women slowly build an extraordinary friendship, and when Wanda discovers a talent for mosaics, the past begins to quiet. Though it takes a while to get started, this haunting and memorable debut is reminiscent of early Atwood, peopled by lovably imperfect and eccentric characters. Agent, Simon Lipskar at Writer's House. (Sept.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.


"There is a message here about creating family in the most unusual places....I promise you this; you will not be sorry you read this book...there is a wisdom and soulfulness there....It's a wonderful, engaging story." -Sue Monk Kidd, author of The Secret Life of Bees

"A compelling, richly layered story reminiscent of works by John Irving and Anne Tyler in its bittersweet humor and well-drawn characters." -Library Journal (starred review) "Moving and endearing, painful and satisfying, put together in just the right shape." -Detroit Free Press "A novel of redemption." -The Washington Post "Broken for You is a romance for the Eleanor Rigbys of the world, those lonely people who find unexpected happiness by creating a surrogate family." -Seattle Post-Intelligencer "Theater veteran Kallos debuts with a dazzling mosaic of intersecting lives and fates. . . . Kallos has a rare, deft way with whimsy, dream sequences and hallucinations. Comparisons to John Irving and Tennessee Williams would not be amiss in this show-stopping debut."
--Kirkus Reviews (starred review) "Well-crafted plotting and crackling wit make this debut novel by Seattle author Kallos a delight to read and a memory to savor. The compelling story highlights the losses and disjointedness of life and the many paths back to healing for those who seek the way. . . . The clever plot and luminous characters are not all that place this novel at the head of the class. Ghostly characters only Margaret sees and heaps of broken porcelain provide powerful metaphors for the sins of the past and the need for personal sacrifice. Book groups will enjoy discussing the layers of meaning, the stylistic nuances, and the powerful message of hope secreted in these pages." --Jennifer Baker, Booklist (starred review) "Tikkun olam is a Hebrew phrase that means 'repair the world, ' and this imperative serves as the narrative catalyst of Broken for You. . . . This is a novel of redemption."
--Susan Coll, Washington Post "This is ultimately a work of repair and redemption. . . . Kallos has given us a compelling, richly layered story reminiscent of works by John Irving and Anne Tyler in its bittersweet humor and well-drawn characters. Carol Shields also comes to mind for the sharp attention to domestic detail and insight into the tenuous relationships of contemporary life. . . . Recommended for all fiction collections."
--Jenn B. Stidham, Library Journal (starred review) "Sweetly rich with detail, and when romance sneaked into the book, I was sure it was a story of redemption and second chances. . . . Broken for You is moving and endearing, painful and satisfying, put together in just the right shape." --Susan Hall-Balduf, Detroit Free Press "A story of growth and redemption filled with a delightfully offbeat cast of characters. . . . Kallos writes in a chatty, breezy style that fits the quirkiness of the characters. . . . There's an almost magical feeling to this story." --Ann M. Colford, Pacific Northwest Inlander "Refreshing and delightful . . . sincere in its originality, fun in its engagement. . . . In her acknowledgements, Kallos states that the novel took her seven years to finish, and there is a definite sense that this is a book that has been well-raised. Care has been taken in its telling. . . . Nothing feels rushed, the timing and pace just right." --Lacey Galbraith, Nashville Scene "Kallos . . . has taken well-developed and honestly imperfect characters who were once strangers, and intertwined them lovingly in a beautiful mosaic that may forever hang in readers' minds and remind them of why some things must break before they can become a part of something truly beautiful." --Colleen Dougher, Sun-Sentinel "A series of reunions, tragedies and newfound friends highlights Kallos' sparkling first novel, but the author's attention to detail leads the reader to believe she's a longtime novelist. A supporting cast of characters colors the story and reinforces the theme of love and family--both by blood and by choice." --Michael Bratcher, The Sunday Oklahoman "Artful meandering is only part of the magic. . . . A wondrous tale, peopled with quirky characters and implausible plot twists, but no cheap tricks. . . . If you open yourself to the world Kallos has created, you may not have the foggiest idea where she is taking you, but you will willingly go, as she pulls you along, piece by piece."
--Cindy Lange-Kubick, Lincoln Journal Star "[A] dreamy, powerful tale of familial warring, secrets and redemption . . . . This haunting and memorable debut is reminiscent of early [Margaret] Atwood, peopled by lovably imperfect and eccentric characters." --Publishers Weekly "Set in contemporary Seattle, this debut novel features a septuagenarian recluse and a young woman with a broken heart. How these two women come together, open up to each other, themselves, and those around them makes a fascinating and compelling book."
--Akankha Perkins, The Sun of the Heart Bookstore, Bridgewater, VT, Book Sense quote "This book will appeal to fans of Anne Tyler or Eleanor Lipman, or any reader who enjoys a smart, touching story with an unforgettable array of quirky characters."
--Bridget, Toadstool Bookshop (Peterborough, NH) "Mesmerized by the first page, I read this book in one sitting, and it has been a favorite of the 40 book clubs registered at our store. There's plenty to discuss in this amazing novel of hope and transformation. Kallo's humor, wit, and beautiful plotting are amazing and a joy to read." --Sally Brewster, Park Road Books (Charlotte, NC) "Stephanie Kallos's lovely and heartfelt first novel is a gift. A story of broken hearts and broken promises, it is also the story of the ways we put things back together--messily, beautifully, and ultimately triumphantly. Kallos is a writer to watch, and one who, mercifully, still believes in happy endings."
--Sheri Holman, author of The Dress Lodger and The Mammoth Cheese "Let the angels in! With this story of transformative friendships, Stephanie Kallos calls us to leave the dreary wisdom of our lives and seek the company of souls adrift. Good things come in pieces." --Nancy Rawles, author of Crawfish Dreams "In this sparkling debut novel, Stephanie Kallos has created an extraordinary testament to the power of love and forgiveness. Broken For You is a big-hearted book that pulses with life." --Tova Mirvis, author of The Outside World and The Ladies Auxiliary "A seventy-six-year-old woman who's just learned that she has a brain tumor takes in a thirty-four-year-old woman who's just been dumped by her boyfriend. Can this be funny? Yes. Painfully funny, beautifully written, and completely original. I love this novel."
--Lolly Winston, author of Good Grief

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