The Crooked Heart of Mercy will be out January 5 from Random House Canada and in the US it will be available in March from HarperCollins. It’s a very special book.

billiecoverAuthor Billie Livingston is a long-time friend of January Magazine (see our interview with Livingston from 1999 here) and the book is… well, in a word, lovely. Maybe the best book yet from an acclaimed and awarded writer. Here’s what Random is saying about the book:

The Crooked Heart of Mercy is a brave, funny and heartbreaking novel about faith and family, love and forgiveness, and how people survive unimaginable loss. It features an indelible trio of characters who could only come from the imagination of Billie Livingston. There’s Ben, whose world we enter on the first page: he’s a limo driver who, after he loses his son, finds himself locked up in a psych ward with a hole in his head he can’t explain. His wife, Maggie, the other narrator of the story, is locked up in her own grief, unable to reach out to her husband. Then there is Maggie’s brother, Francis, an unlikely priest with a drinking problem and only occasional interest in celibacy, whose latest fall from the wagon was caught on video and has gone viral as Drunk Priest Propositions Cop.

How they come together to heal each other’s many wounds is the magic of this novel, as is its intensity, its wit, its deep sense of the absurd, and the surprising grace at its core.

Livingston has been shortlisted for the Giller Award, Canada’s richest literary prize. She has won the Danuta Gleed Award and the CBC Bookie. She is respected and, in some circles, revered. But right now, we’re writing about the clever Advance Reading Copy that was sent to reviewers by Random in Canada: and not just because we got a front row seat (see bottom left of the photo above). When this galley arrived a few months ago, we sat up and paid attention. “The Writer You Need to Read Right Now.” Of course. And you do, too.

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