The Gospel of Winter Brendan Kiely
An Amazon Best Book of the Month
Starred pre-publication reviews in Publishers Weekly, Kirkus and Booklist
"The Gospel of Winter is a book that will be satisfying to literary readers as it will to young adults. It captures the pulse of a contemporary wound, a truth that needs to be told about the shameful issue of abuse within our society. Brendan Kiely has written a novel that is both unflinching and redemptive."
—Colum McCann, New York Times bestselling author of the National Book Award-winning Let the Great World Spin
Somewhere at the nexus of The Virgin Suicides, The Ice Storm, and Ordinary People lies The Gospel of Winter, the debut of a superb young writer that captures the powerful ways love can be used as a weapon against the innocent—but can also, in the right hands, restore hope and faith.
Set in the Connecticut suburbs, The Gospel of Winter is narrated by Aidan Donovan, a smart and wary sixteen-year-old whose family is combusting around him. Aidan’s father spends most of his time in Brussels, rescuing the world’s economy and ignoring his only son except for the occasional lecture on public virtue; his mother, a former ballerina, is theatrically miserable and seductively needy. Aidan finds solace in a bump of two of Adderall, his father’s wet bar, the friendship of the family housekeeper Elena, and the attentions of Father Greg, the backslapping priest who takes time out from his philanthropy to actually listen to Aidan. As Christmas approaches, Aidan’s world collapses in a crisis of trust. On the run from the adults in his life, he spends aimless nights with a misfit band of classmates: Josie, the girl he might be in love with; Sophie, the wild one; and Mark, the pothead swim team captain whose own secrets converge with Aidan's— in a stunning climax of tragedy that will leave Aidan wiser, and ultimately transformed.
Kiely writes with a keen eye for the insidious details of privilege and power, and a generous sympathy for the trials of a young man confronted with an impossible conflict of loyalties. The Gospel of Winter is a compelling novel by a writer of great promise.
Brendan Kiely is an admissions officer and English teacher at The Calhoun School in Manhattan, where he has developed a fine ear for the rhythms of the young heart. He received an MFA in creative writing from the The City College of New York and his fiction has been awarded the prestigious Doris Lippman Award and was recognized by the Zoetrope: All-Story Short Fiction Contest judged by A.M. Homes. His writing has been published in Fiction, Guernica, Big Bridge, Mikrokosmos Journal, Void Magazine, Promethean Magazine and the AWP Writer's Chronicle. Kiely is presently at work on his second novel.
Published by Simon & Schuster in January 2014.