Sufficient Grace has been longlisted for the very first Stella Prize, a major new literary award for Australian women’s writing.
Deep in the heart of rural Wisconsin, 13-year old Ruth and her cousin Naomi are grappling with sin, penance and the dark tensions of adulthood. Living in a small community tightly bound by their Pentecostal faith, the two girls are like sisters, wrapped up in an unconditional devotion to one another – “she is mine,” Ruth often reflects. They are also bound together by a horrifying secret, and as they seek help through prayer, their faith becomes as suffocating as it is a comfort.
Sufficient Grace is the debut novel from Melbourne-based American writer Amy Espeseth, and won the 2009 Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for an unpublished manuscript. Narrated through the perspective of Ruth, the story stretches slowly over five months in a harsh winter, brought to life with an enchanting, almost folksy resonance. It comes as no surprise that Espeseth herself grew up in a Wisconsin fundamentalist community much like Ruth’s. This is an authentic rendering of a world created through intimate knowledge and a penchant for rich, earthy detail. (more…)