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Jessica Francis Kane - book author

JESSICA FRANCIS KANE is the author of The Report (Graywolf, 2010), a finalist for the 2010 Flaherty-Dunnan First Novel Prize from the Center for Fiction and a Barnes & Noble "Discover" pick. She is also the author of the story collections Bending Heaven (Counterpoint, 2002) and This Close (Graywolf, 2013), which was an NPR best book of the year and a finalist for The Story Prize. Her stories have been broadcast on BBC radio and have appeared in many publications, including Granta, Virginia Quarterly Review, McSweeney’s, The Missouri Review, and Michigan Quarterly Review. Her essays and humor pieces have appeared in Slate, Salon, McSweeney’s Internet Tendency and The Morning News, where she is a contributing writer. Her new novel, Rules for Visiting, will be published by Penguin Press in May, 2019. She lives in New York with her husband and their two children.

Jessica Francis Kane is the author of books: Rules for Visiting, The Report, This Close, Bending Heaven, American Lawn, The Essentials of Acceleration, Lucky Boy, Double Take & Night Class, The Old Beginning, Joan Didion Crosses the Street

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Author Books

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01
A beautifully observed and deeply funny novel of May Attaway, a university gardener who sets out on an odyssey to reconnect with four old friends over the course of a year.

At forty, May Attaway is more at home with plants than people. Over the years, she's turned inward, finding pleasure in language, her work as a gardener, and keeping her neighbors at arm's length while keenly observing them. But when she is unexpectedly granted some leave from her job, May is inspired to reconnect with four once close friends. She knows they will never have a proper reunion, so she goes, one-by-one, to each of them. A student of the classics, May considers her journey a female Odyssey. What might the world have had if, instead of waiting, Penelope had set out on an adventure of her own?

RULES FOR VISITING is a woman's exploration of friendship in the digital age. Deeply alert to the nobility and the ridiculousness of ordinary people, May savors the pleasures along the way--afternoon ice cream with a long-lost friend, surprise postcards from an unexpected crush, and a moving encounter with ancient beauty. Though she gets a taste of viral online fame, May chooses to bypass her friends' perfectly cultivated online lives to instead meet them in their messy analog ones.

Ultimately, May learns that a best friend is someone who knows your story--and she inspires us all to master the art of visiting.
02
A stunning first novel that is an evocative re-imagining of a World War II civilian disaster

On a March night in 1943, on the steps of a London Tube station, 173 people die in a crowd seeking shelter from what seemed to be another air raid. When the devastated neighborhood demands an inquiry, the job falls to magistrate Laurence Dunne.

In this beautifully crafted novel, Jessica Francis Kane paints a vivid portrait of London at war. As Dunne investigates, he finds the truth to be precarious, even damaging. When he is forced to reflect on his report several decades later, he must consider whether the course he chose was the right one. "The Report "is a provocative commentary on the way all tragedies are remembered and endured.
03
A graceful, moving new collection by the author of The Report

How close can we come to love, success, happiness, forgiveness?

An older woman, irritated with her wealthy young neighbor’s yard “improvements,” offers a corner of her lawn to a Croatian immigrant who wants a vegetable garden. A recent college graduate living in New York City finds himself in a strangely entangled friendship with his dry cleaner and her son. A daughter accompanies her father to Israel, where, seeing a new side of him away from her mother, she makes an unusual bargain.

Through thirteen stories, some stand-alone, others woven with linked characters, Kane questions the tensions between friendship and neighborliness, home and travel, family and ambition. In writing filled with wit and humor and incredible poignancy, she deftly reveals the everyday patterns that, over time, can swerve a life off course.
04
Set in the United States and London, this debut collection introduces us to a cast of characters, some anguished in their pursuit of impractical dreams, others struggling to make sense of their failures. A mathematician who has forsaken everything in order to prove a theory; an older woman author achieving fame late in life; a guilt-ridden mother struggling to impress her teenage daughter; an unhappy lawyer attempting to survive a corporate retreat with dignity - all are ambitious and passionate, but to their dismay find themselves at odds with the pattern of their lives. Attempting to make a new beginning or heal a hurt, they are thwarted by embarrassing impulsiveness or a sudden lack of faith.