|Scribe Publications certainly seem to be able to pick some very interesting sounding novels. One of their latest is Sufficient Grace by Amy Espeseth. The author spoke to Deborah Robertson for "Readings". Excellent cover as well.|
In her entrancing debut novel, Sufficient Grace, winner of the 2009 Victorian Premier's Literary Award for an unpublished manuscript, Amy Espeseth takes us into a community of Pentecostal fundamentalists and tells a mighty tale of sin and retribution, intimately examining the lives of people whose religion is a warm yet claustrophobic embrace.
Set in rural Failing, Wisconsin, the novel is narrated by thirteen-year-old Ruth: 'Daddy says you can tell a lot about a man's heart from the way he kills a deer. First off, a body don't shoot if he ain't willing to take it all the way. A guy takes a bad shot and wounds something good, he best get himself ready for some long trails tracking.'
Sufficient Grace is not a novel built from research or flights of fancy, but one that is deeply embedded in its author's own experience. Of Norwegian descent, Amy Espeseth was born into a fundamentalist Pentecostal family in Barron, Wisconsin, in 1974. She has lived in Australia for the past 16 years, but given her novel's keen sense of authenticity and rootedness, it was inevitable when we met that I ask her about autobiographical influences.
'For as much as I notice the small little details of the world,' says Espeseth, 'I tend to be pretty blind and ignorant about the details in my writing, and I would never have thought that I was writing about my childhood until it was pointed out to me that Ruth is very similar in nature and background and appearance and a lot of other things to me, so probably it was the closest I could get to writing in my own voice without writing a memoir.'