- Published by Free Press
Praise for SUFFICIENT GRACE
Sufficient Grace is not like a first novel at all, it’s so full of interesting characters and ideas. Although it is often very funny—and always fun to read—this is nevertheless a profoundly serious book as well, examining both the nature of love and the kinds of nurture we all hunger for. Arnoult invites us to a feast of love, in fact, a kind of communion. I’d say that the main themes here are race, religion, and especially art. Each swift and telling scene is like a brushstroke in an impressionistic painting which shimmers with the light of revelation.
Darnell Arnoult writes about a people and a place from deep in her heart. She breathes life into her material, drawing us into her world, a world we do not want to leave at book’s end. Sufficient Grace is Flannery O’Conner possessed by Emeril, laced with canny observations about the sweetness and alienation that is family. If I were to tell you everything that’s humane, witty, smart, touching, captivating in this book, I would be hoarse.
Darnell Arnoult’s Sufficient Grace reminds me of Harriett Arnow’s The Doll Maker and Lee Smith’s Fair and Tender Ladies. It’s a big story full of just about everything: good food, history, religion, medicine, family and fun. It’s too good to have come from a new kid on the block, but it has and it will be read and loved by many, many readers.
When Gracie Hollaman, the central character in Darnell Arnoult’s luminous novel Sufficient Grace, hears voices telling her to leave home and seek a new life, she begins a journey into the narrow space between what is real and what is not, what is of this world and what is not, illuminating and altering the lives of everyone around her in the process. Arnoult’s writing sings a hymn of praise to the possibility that dwells in shadows, the promise that waits within even the most broken among us, and the power of love in all its infinite variety. Once I started reading, I had no choice but to listen to the voices and follow where they led in this lyrical novel filled with magic and amazing grace.
Sufficient Grace is a winner, a bountiful, blessed tale, alive with insight, warmth, and humor. As many in the large cast of racially and age diverse characters in this satisfying, well-plotted story are brought from disappointment, madness, loss, and sometimes despair into connection, love, and art the reader will want to cheer them and the author. Arnoult proves with this debut novel that she is an amazing story teller who is going places.
Sufficient Grace is both a blessing and a relief. It’s a relief to read a novel about the deepest truths women share, which has everything to do with courage and dignity. It is also a blessing to be shown the inner core of our hearts by someone who knows us so well.
A dazzling, masterful first novel that grips from the first sentence and never lets go. Long after I finished the book, I found myself thinking about Gracie–she is destined to be one of the most original and important characters in southern literature.
-Michael Lee West
Darnell Arnoult has written a beautiful novel of the special enduring love, strength, hope and, yes, grace, that is capable between mothers and daughters.
Darnell Arnoult gently slips her characters under the microscope, pulls out the hidden, examines the known and unknown, and allows the reader to connect to the love, loss, sadness, and comedic aspects that are within us all.
-Grace F. Edwards