Katherine Heiny’s EARLY MORNING RISER was a great way to kick off 2021 – funny, smart, insightful, with dazzling dialogue and keen wit, Heiny has brought us another deep dive into what makes us loveably human.
Jane moves to Boynton City, Michigan to take a job as a second grade teacher. There, she falls in love with Duncan. Duncan has been well-loved; he’s slept with most of the women in Boynton City and though the relationships may have been short, they have an afterlife that sticks with Jane. She wonders if she will ever truly have Duncan to herself. Duncan’s ex-wife Aggie is ever-ready with advice and recipes, and shows up at every event looking as if she’d just had her hair coiffed and her dresses ironed. Duncan still mows her lawn even though Aggie has remarried. On top of that, Duncan’s affable coworker Jimmy, a lovable yet vulnerable man, shows up at the most awkward moments at Duncan’s apartment. After a devastating accident, Jane’s life is inextricably bound to Duncan, Jimmy, and Aggie. Through these relationships, though challenging each in their own way, Jane is pressed to discover the true meaning of family and love and living fully.
I cannot recommend EARLY MORNING RISER enough. EARLY MORNING RISER brims with love and hope and humor. Heiny redefines family in this enchanting novel and I felt my heart lifted from the heaviness of the past year. Her characters are complex and quirky – they’re your mother, your brother, or your neighbor – they are just like all those complicated people you encounter on a daily basis. Whether you live in a small town, or your village of people is in a big city, you’ll recognize them and after reading EARLY MORNING RISER, you’ll find the things that may have previously annoyed you, endearing. Heiny is like that – through her lens, you’ll see things differently.
I recommend EARLY MORING RISER for fans of Ann Tyler and Elizabeth Strout. Run, don’t walk to your favorite bookstore and preorder this radiant gem which will be available in April from Knopf Publishing.
This is Lin Salisbury with Superior Reviews.