A Small Indiscretion

A Small Indiscretion

eBook - 2014
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NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE * With the emotional complexity of Everything I Never Told You and the psychological suspense of The Girl on the Train, O. Henry Prize winner Jan Ellison delivers a brilliantly paced, beautifully written debut novel about one woman's reckoning with a youthful mistake.

"Part psychological thriller, part character study . . . I peeled back the pages of this book as fast as I could."-- The Huffington Post

At nineteen, Annie Black trades a bleak future in a washed-out California town for a London winter of drinking and abandon. Twenty years later, she is a San Francisco lighting designer and happily married mother of three who has put her reckless youth behind her. Then a photo from that distant winter in Europe arrives inexplicably in her mailbox, and an old obsession is awakened.

Past and present collide, Annie's marriage falters, and her son takes a car ride that ends with his life hanging in the balance. Now Annie must confront her own transgressions and fight for her family by untangling the mysteries of the turbulent winter that drew an invisible map of her future. Gripping, insightful, and lyrical, A Small Indiscretion announces the arrival of a major new voice in literary suspense as it unfolds a story of denial, passion, forgiveness--and the redemptive power of love.

Praise for A Small Indiscretion

"Ellison is a tantalizing storyteller . . . moving her story forward with cinematic verve." -- USA Today

"Rich with suspense . . . Lovely writing guides us through, driven by a quiet generosity." -- San Francisco Chronicle (Book Club pick)

"Delicious, lazy-day reading. Just don't underestimate the writing." -- O: The Oprah Magazine (Editor's Pick)

"Rich and detailed . . . The plot explodes delightfully, with suspense and a few twists. Using second-person narration and hypnotic prose, Ellison's debut novel is both juicy and beautifully written. How do I know it's juicy? A stranger started reading it over my shoulder on the New York City subway, and told me he was sorry that I was turning the pages too quickly." -- Flavorwire

"Are those wild college days ever really behind you? Happily married Annie finds out." -- Cosmopolitan

"An impressive fiction debut . . . both a psychological mystery and a study of the divide between desire and duty." -- San Jose Mercury News

"A novel to tear through on a plane ride or on the beach . . . I was drawn into a web of secrets, a world of unrequited love and youthful mistakes that feel heightened and more romantic on the cold winter streets of London, Paris, and Ireland." -- Bustle

"Ellison renders the California landscape with stunning clarity. . . . She writes gracefully, with moments of startling insight. . . . Her first novel is an emotional thriller, skillfully plotted in taut, visual scenes." -- The Rumpus

"To read A Small Indiscretion is to eat fudge before dinner: slightly decadent behavior, highly caloric, and extremely satisfying. . . . An emotional detective story that . . . mirrors real life in ways that surprise and inspire." -- New York Journal of Books

"If you liked Gone Girl for its suspenseful look inside the psychology of a bad marriage, try A Small Indiscretion . . . . It touches many of the same nerves." -- StyleCaster

Publisher: New York : Random House, [2014]
ISBN: 9780812995459
Characteristics: 1 online resource (323 pages)


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athompson10 Apr 23, 2016

Took me a while to get into this one; I'm starting to become frustrated with the current trend of telling a story by jumping back and forth between present and past rather than writing a straight linear progression. In this book the writer travels among present, recent past of the last year, and older past of 20+ years ago. I'd figured out the big reveal/secret halfway through but kept reading to find out how the author brought it out. In the end this is a tale of marriage, love and forgiveness, narrated by a somewhat unlikeable, very flawed character who can be almost sociopathic in her detachment, even when she's professing her love for the various people in her life.

Dec 31, 2015

Interesting book. Not the best I have read but I kept on reading to see what would happen. I do not think the dust jacket flap gives an accurate description of what the story is about. Was also surprised it was J. Ellison's first book. Will look for others by her.

Jun 12, 2015

As a fellow grad of SFSU, I really wanted to like this novel, but was only able to read a few chapters before I heard the voice of my Creative Writing teacher at SFSU shouting in my ear, warning me of the excessive use of passive voice: "It was...." "There are...." This book needed a better editor.

Mar 25, 2015

Chronical-suspenseful first novel early sexual odysseys produce astonishing latter-day fallout

Sep 14, 2014

Narrator Annie Black moves between recounting stories of her 19-year old self and present day self. She has been shaken up, by her son's car accident - which isn't mentioned on the back-cover but is a back-drop to the novel. Don't worry - it's not a spoiler, you find out about 10 pages in.

It's easy to get wrapped up in Jan Ellison's writing. I was surprised to learn that this is her first novel.


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