THE WHY OF THINGS

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From the critically acclaimed and “bitingly intelligent” (The New York Times Book Review) author of December comes a buoyant and beautiful new novel about a family struggling in the aftermath of a suicide.

Since her seventeen-year-old daughter’s suicide less than a year ago, Joan Jacobs has been working to keep her once tight-knit family from coming apart. Now, arriving one June evening at their summer home in Massachusetts, she and her husband, Anders, and their two younger daughters stumble across another tragedy: a pickup truck has, inexplicably, driven straight into a quarry in their backyard. Within hours, divers drag up the body of a young local man, James Favazza.

As the Jacobs learn more about the events that led up to that fateful evening, each member of the family becomes increasingly tangled in the emotional threads of James’s life and death: fifteen-year-old Eve grows obsessed with proving that James’s death wasn’t an accident, though the police refuse to consider this; Anders finds himself forced to face his own deepest fears; and seven-year-old Eloise unwittingly adopts James’s orphaned dog, all while Joan herself becomes increasingly fixated on James’s mother, a stranger whose loss so closely mirrors her own.

Widely beloved for her evocative prose and uncommon emotional insight, Elizabeth Winthrop is at her most impressive in this sharply drawn masterpiece—a powerful, riveting story that explores the complexities of grief and the small triumphs that can bring unexpected healing.