Book Jacket

 

rank 1082
word count 101246
date submitted 16.08.2010
date updated 30.05.2012
genres: Fiction, Literary Fiction
classification: universal
complete

The Writer's Children

Rebecca Ash

Artistic and historical conflict, amid the fragility of human relationships, reign over a family unwittingly brought together for a Thanksgiving weekend.

 

The Jacoby family unwittingly come together for Thanksgiving in Connecticut. The family is a somewhat dysfunctional one, comprising an eccentric (and eponymous) writer, Jacob Jacoby, his wife Mary, and their five children, one of whom died from cancer years before.

Consecutively the novel takes place over a few days preceding the holiday, with Anna Jacoby, the youngest daughter, returning home after three years, and other members of the family arriving. Flashbacks reveal Jacob’s time in the Vietnam war and how this inspired him to write one of the greatest war novels of the 20th Century; and a boat trip with a mentally ill man and his subsequent suicide that led Anna to take flight.

Also returning for the holiday are the youngest son Sam, who, as a college football hero is the antithesis of everything the literary family hold dear, volatile eldest son Sean. and the Jacoby’s middle daughter, Rachel who, alongside husband Bill, leads a life of American perfection which she through her actions tries to escape.

The over-arching themes of the novel are the differing individuals' approaches and theories to life; death and survivor’s guilt; nature versus religion; and overall private redemption.

 
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books, family, famous author, fiction, literary, literature, poetry, vietnam, war, writer

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GK Stritch wrote 1406 days ago

Dear Rebecca Ash,

I fell right into The Writer’s Children as easily as falling onto the silk sofa from Thailand or the familiar brown couch. Oh-la-la for comfy writing, I just love your style – LOVE it. You’ll probably get the same criticism I do: paragraphs and chapter too long, but, frankly, methinks people have forgotten how to read: short attention spans filled with trash.

Best wishes and backed.

GK Stritch
CBGB Was My High School

RebeccaAsh wrote 784 days ago

Thank you Dean!

Rebecca, wicked book cover for starters.

You write beautifully, with lots of description and it moves at a pace. Your a very clever and accomplished writer and I look forward to reading on.

Your words set the tone and atmospere.

Like it so far.

Dean

LADIES NIGHT
ROUGH JUSTICE

Karamak wrote 784 days ago

Hi, I have read your first chapter and really enjoyed it so I have W/L it to return to when I will leave a more detailed comment, but so far this is a well written and plotted story with a lot of promise. Your characters are well constructed and believable high stars from me, Karen, Faking it in France.

RebeccaAsh wrote 784 days ago

Thank you Dean!

Rebecca, wicked book cover for starters.

You write beautifully, with lots of description and it moves at a pace. Your a very clever and accomplished writer and I look forward to reading on.

Your words set the tone and atmospere.

Like it so far.

Dean

LADIES NIGHT
ROUGH JUSTICE

judoman wrote 784 days ago

Rebecca, wicked book cover for starters.

You write beautifully, with lots of description and it moves at a pace. Your a very clever and accomplished writer and I look forward to reading on.

Your words set the tone and atmospere.

Like it so far.

Dean

LADIES NIGHT
ROUGH JUSTICE

katie78 wrote 1094 days ago

your cover has an eerie, fantasy/crime feel to it and didn't seem to fit the story. your pitch seemed convoluted and overly long. loved the title.

your writing is exceptional. i loved your opening. the beginning starts to drag with descriptions of the house. i was relieved when i got to the dialogue, which was well done.

i read better outside authonomy's format. would you be interested in a read swap? and, either way, would you like your book listed here:
http://www.authonomy.com/forums/threads/77048/reading-list-for-literary-fiction/

katie78 wrote 1094 days ago

this is exactly the kind of story i'm drawn to. are you up for crit?
btw- i think a fast way to improve your pitch would be to include line breaks. the white space makes it more visually appealing.

GK Stritch wrote 1406 days ago

Dear Rebecca Ash,

I fell right into The Writer’s Children as easily as falling onto the silk sofa from Thailand or the familiar brown couch. Oh-la-la for comfy writing, I just love your style – LOVE it. You’ll probably get the same criticism I do: paragraphs and chapter too long, but, frankly, methinks people have forgotten how to read: short attention spans filled with trash.

Best wishes and backed.

GK Stritch
CBGB Was My High School

Andy M. Potter wrote 1418 days ago

Hi Rebecca. great evocation of mood and place. accomplished prose.
on my shelf.
when i like something, i read more closely, trying to offer some feedback. here's a VERY, VERY minor thought re descriptive passages. it may not fit Ann's POV, but here goes ;)

perhaps prune the odd adverb now and then.

e.g., near start of ch1:
"...amid the equally fairly bleak scenery." - maybe just "equally bleak scenery."

e.,g, near end of ch:
"...kind of classic beauty that didn't really seem to exist in the modern day." - "didn't seem to exist in the modern day."

fine read! very best, andy

Raymond Crane wrote 1424 days ago

I have read your book and am very pleased with the high literary style, the unusual association of inanimate things with the characterisation and the overall technical skill of execution. It would be a pleasure to read your book if I had the time so I WILL back it . Perhaps you could have a look at my books - goodluck ! !

Lara wrote 1424 days ago

I really like your plot and the interweaving of the relationships around it. Sometimes you overwrite but in the main, a good read.
Lara
Good for Him

Marija F.Sullivan wrote 1425 days ago

Fine writing, indeed. Backed with pleasure, M
- Weekend Chimney Sweep
- Sarajevo Walls of Fate

The Collector wrote 1426 days ago

Rebecca,

hi there. I have only read Chapter 1 so far but I like it and I will put time aside to read the rest of it . Like the natural dialogue ; like the descriptive narrative, particularly evocation of other senses than sight - the smell of dog - for example. It's well written as far as I have got so far. The only thing I find that interrupts the read is the format of the letter and press extracts. Perhaps its just the limitations of the Authonomy web pages or perhaps it would be better just built in in the same layout as the rest of the text. Just a personal view however and I am conscious that this comment could be about as irritating to you as similar comments that I get about the dialect in my own Collector of Tales. Please take it with the best intentions.

regards

david

Duncan Watt wrote 1426 days ago

Hi Rebecca ...

A well written expose of life in New England society. Some of the descriptive passages I found a little overlong, but that is my opinion only. Good characters and dialogue. 'Backed'. regards ... Duncan.

Dorothea wrote 1427 days ago

Your style of writing is truly luxurious. A pleasure to read.

Tracy Buchanan
The Candyfloss Room

greeneyes1660 wrote 1428 days ago

Rebecca, It is midnight and I just finished this ASTOUNDING novel. What better topic then human perception.
As i wrote you earlier, this reminds me of "Ordinary People" a similar premise but you've done it, in my opinion, in a much more appealing way, though i enjoyed it(Ordinary People) it was open to mixed reviews as people unfortunately want blood,murder, action and fantasy every 5 minutes, but I enjoy the human mind and find it more thrilling and intrigueing.

The voice of Anna is so natural and raw and we can all relate to her, as at some point in all our lives we have posed similar questions and struggles.

Your Thanksgiving scene had me laughing out loud coming from a "Gaelic and Garlic" household I could relate fully to the chaos, it really brought back memories which is always a good sign on the reality of the fiction.

You handle recalling time periods with ease keeping the pace and the reader immersed. I was completely commited to this full circle. Thought provoking, sad, joyful, thankful,angry all the emotins we deal with in daily life; surrounded by this eclectic group of people, all with a significant, important viewpoint in this masterpiece.

Ending it with a letter was perect and poetic . I would buy this book and I not only think it will resonate with many, bu I think it will really give many food for thought and hope...Backed Hands down Patricia aka Columbia Layers of the Heart

mvw888 wrote 1428 days ago

I always get a little excited when I read someone's profile and some of their favorite books align with ones I've loved, especially off-the-beaten-path type choices like Remains of the Day and the Eggers book. I'm always expecting a little something extra. In your case, I wasn't disappointed. Your writing is beautiful, with a leisurely pace, description that resonates and serves deeper purposes, a slow revealing of character. Because your style is in some ways like my own, I find myself wanting to line edit, to take out things like commas after the first clause of a sentence, followed by "and" and another independent clause. One example: "A drop of rain fell squarely onto to her nose, and she picked up her bag..." To be honest, I could spend the good part of a morning taking out that comma and putting it back in (and perhaps contemplating that word "squarely"). So what I'm saying is that the only things I see are things that probably have to do with stylistic choices. The writing is beautiful, a fully realized beginning. Really enjoyed this.

---Mary
The Qualities of Wood

Elizabeth Wolfe wrote 1428 days ago

Dear Rebecca,
Your opening scene at the grey sea shore is so true to a New England coastline. I felt I was standing at the beach, seeing the gray and sand, and feeling like a part of that early winter scene. Lovely!

BACKED
Elizabeth Wolfe (MEMORIES OF GLORY)

aldousremoved wrote 1428 days ago

You are obviously talented. I had backed this earlier and I persisted in reading much of it. I wanted to like this but I couldn't, that's not a criticism. I think it's because I couldn't fall in like/love with any one of the characters, although I tried. In some respects the undertone of negativity that I felt, of and about the characters and their lives (I guess that's simply life anyway, isn't it), seemed to echo the Dreams of Darwin book critiques. There were times when I felt my shoulders stooping as I read, perhaps that was your intention. Notwithstanding that, you have obvious skills and paint some beautiful and interesting portraits. With some polish (we all need that) I could understand this becoming a commercial success as a novel or a play. Best of luck with it, Anthony

beegirl wrote 1429 days ago

I think you write beautifully and I believe you have a story to tell. I do think that you have a little work to do to get this to the point that it is public ready.

1. Pitch--you need to get a good hook in your pitch that just begs us to read this book. What is the climax of this story--were do we get lost and need to be refound--take us there and leave us hanging so we want to find out what is happening.
2. Though beautifully written, Anna and her movements are slow--you may need to shape this a little differently so that there is more happening that will make us keep turning the page.

SOMETHING TO REMEMBER: The first thing I said was you write beautifully and have story to tell--remember that your story is worth the work!
Best to you, Barbara

LeahPet wrote 1430 days ago

Opening with the weather/description of the setting is never a good idea if you want to get published.

I open literary fiction expecting clean, beautiful prose and this wasn't.

The pitch gives nothing interesting to expect.

In the bookstore I wouldn't even have opened it after reading the back cover. If I did open it, I would put it back on the shelf after two paragraphs.

Frits wrote 1430 days ago

Good writing. Great characters. You got the mother/daughter kind of estranged but still connected by memories and blood down really good. Interested in meeting the rest of the family. Somehow disfunctional and/but still a family. I'll back it.
Peace
Frits
The Devil's Maw

Bud Carroll wrote 1431 days ago

Very nice. Loved the writing. Backed.
Bud Carroll - The City - All That Ends I

memphisgirl wrote 1431 days ago

This is extraordinary and after only one chapter (so far), I can say, no doubt epic in sweep. Being inside Anna's head for the first glimpse at the family home conveys a sense of loss even before we realize that Anna has lost someone. I hope you do not veer away from keeping the reader in Anna's head at the start as some have suggested here. I have grown tired of the many attempts at complete omniscience in other works, writers hopping in and out of various perspectives like some kind of psychological cupid playing games. I love without equivocation your ability to view events one POV at a time, and that is part of the epic "larger than life" scope of the work. I will read this to the end and only wish I had more hours to sit and contemplate the language. I lived on the Cape (Sandwich and Bourne) for seventeen months and spent one long winter there. I know by heart the landscape of which you write, and this brings it all back to me.

rab14 wrote 1432 days ago

I admit to only having read one chapter instead of my usual three but that is because the first chapter is quite long. I like some of your descriptve prose and the nostalgia and poigiancy that a homecoming evokes is well done. FAmily intrigues and upsets drag the reader into the book and the dialogue is realistic.
Editting note - Have a look at how many paragraphs begin with Anna in Ch 1 - there may be some scope for alteration here. Good Luck - Backed K.J. Rabane - According to Olwen

CG Fewston wrote 1432 days ago

Superb!

Light Between Shadows wrote 1433 days ago

So interesting to read this since it is set around where I live - and the beach is often a place of solace in my book too. Lovely writing. I would suggest only that your first chapter is quite long and could easily be made into more than one. I think this helps set the pace of the book. Perhaps beginning with the dialogue -- although it is tempting to set the scene first, these days, it's important to grab the reader right into the scene before they have a chance to leave. Best of luck!
Tricia
The Things We Cannot Change

CarolinaAl wrote 1433 days ago

An engaging story with fascinating characters. Splendid imagery. Sparkling dialogue. Evocative narrative. A pleasure to read. Backed.

Caroline Hartman wrote 1433 days ago

Rebecca,
Many of us have heard Fitzgerald's quote, "The rich are very different...." The entire quote is "Let me tell you about the very rich. They are different from you and me. They possess and enjoy early, and it does something to them, makes them soft, where we are hard, cynical where we are trustful, in a way that, unless you were born rich, it is very difficult to understand." I think, Rebecca, you understand. Your prose is lovely, your story subtley poignant and telling (I love Anna criticizing her sister-in-law amid her own affluence.) How the mother's never gotten over the loss of her child (does anyone?). THE WRITERS CHILDREN is the kind of book I'd love to take to the beach. I love it. I wish you tons of luck.
Caroline
KC Hart
Summer Rose

Jodi Louise Nicholls wrote 1433 days ago

Rebecca,

This is exquiste. You have a beautiful voice and great flow to your prose. I wish you the very best with this.

Kind regards,

Jodi.
x-Evalesco-x

The Ark And The Aroma Of Peril wrote 1433 days ago

hi,
You really have a very good story with you. Keep wroking on it. All the best. I hope the best favours you.
BAcked with wishes.

S. Vinay kumar,
the ark and the aroma of peril

DMHeadley wrote 1433 days ago

I just love the cover page and the pitch is good.
Backed with pleasure.

Dawn
Sammy and the Wise Willow

Kidd1 wrote 1433 days ago

What could be better than a dysfunctional family Thanksgiving! Seems like it has been done before, but your take is with new characters with new problems. Backed.

I hope you will give mine a read and back it if you like it.
Best,
Robert
Golden Conspiracy

Bill Carrigan wrote 1433 days ago

Dear Rebecca, Your well-written novel should be very popular, as many readers enjoy stories of family interaction. I think the key is strong characterization, and you've certainly achieved that. The dialogue is natural and brings the characters to life, as in the scene where Mary carries on while Anna bathes. You have a talent for penetrating a family's grievances. (You should, though, treat "family" as a plural word: "The family . . . gathers together . . .") I'll back "The Writer's Children" and plan to read beyond Chapter 5 when time permits. Would you kindly take a look at "The Doctor of Summitville," a realistic love story set in an American country town during the depression of the 1920' and '30s? Best of luck, Bill

zan wrote 1433 days ago

The Writer's Children

Rebecca Ash

A family reunion always sets the stage for some excellent drama! Your host of characters are interesting and your themes appeal to me. Good literary ficftion and if I had the time, a book I could easily read from beginning to end. Best of luck with it.

Barry Wenlock wrote 1434 days ago

Hi Rebecca, you are a very good writer and this is a first-class read. Bravo.
Best wishes,
Barry
LITTLE KRISNA AND THE BIHAR BOYS

klouholmes wrote 1434 days ago

Hi Rebecca, This is so evocative and convincing; the description of the house sensory and lush. I enjoyed the reviews in the kitchen and it’s odd that they would be there, no positive reviews. Anna’s conversation with her mother is also very real, the discussion about the sentence and all the things that show the tension. The only crit is that the dialogue there might have more impact if it was shortened. This is a book to sink into and enjoy! Easily shelved – Katherine (The Swan Bonnet)

Walden Carrington wrote 1434 days ago

Rebecca,
The Writer's Children brings together a colorful cast of characters. They are a pleasure to come to know. Backed.

Summer D'Vine wrote 1435 days ago

The Writer's Children - I liked the start with Anna going through rooms and family pictures to give the reader a backstory (without a prologue). The dialogue between Anna and Mary in the first chapter was quirky and real. I'm a complete vegetarian - -until I go to my mother's house - -so when Mary's making fun of the "California" food with lentils and lima beans, I understood that all too well. Gladly already backed.

All the best,
:-) Summer D'Vine, Women of the Trees

missyfleming_22 wrote 1435 days ago

I love the dialogue in here, it's so real and you use it to tell a lot of the story which is kinda different but in a good way. It's a great study of family relationships. Your characters all feel well developed and each is individual in their own right. This is just an excellent book. I really enjoyed it.

Missy

Niobrara Kardnova wrote 1436 days ago

I can see this as a stage or screen play. You carry most of it forward with dialogue, and the rest could be done with stage directions or flashback sets, I think. The reason I see this as drama is because of the intensity of the situations. You reveal so much between the lines of the dialogue (as in Anna's resentment as shown indirectly in her comments revolving around Rachel) and in the what the characters are doing while they speak (Anna comes home after a long absence and her mother busies herself putting a kettle on and talking about the market). I liked the way you set up the conflict between real feelings and academic beliefs right away. Anna enters The Admiral's House and is immediately pulled into the emotions of her past by the smells, sights and feel of the place, so she reorients her state of mind by looking at the old photographs, which, though not staged, are lacking the dimension of feeling. The conversation between Mary and Anna follows the same course, breaking out occasionally into an open wound, but quickly steering back to the safe stream of reason and hypothetical logic. Perhaps because of my own upbringing, the feel of the house is oppressive and repressive to me. I long to break away into the open air. I think I will likely feel most comfortable with Sam, but your wide range of characters and relationships, especially Sean's retreat from the family and Tim's death (or, as Mary likes to think of it, move to England), should make The Writer's Children a fascinating read. Happy to back it.
Niobrara Kardnova (Family Irregulars)

andrew skaife wrote 1436 days ago

Family tensions are deeply beset with chances of over writing but you avoid this with consumate ease as the quality of the writing is ood enough to carry meaning without overt expression. The characters are sufficiently bitter enough but loyal enough with each other to be realistic.

Excellent.

BACKED

dave_ancon wrote 1436 days ago

Nice. No nits, I'll back this for you. Dave

Katy Christie wrote 1436 days ago

This is a very clever piece of writing, from the skillful descriptive quality to the gritty dialogue that tells the reader so much. Letters and reviews also provide additional layers of information. This is a very polished first chapter and augers brilliantly for the rest.
Katy Christie
No Man No Cryh

celticwriter wrote 1436 days ago

Hi Rebecca, firstly, thank you for backing LONDON.
Secondly, I'm still enjoying the journey you've painted so well, with words which flow easily, effortlessly. Nice structure! No pretensions in your style.

sincerely,
jim

celticwriter wrote 1436 days ago

Hi Rebecca, firstly, thank you for backing LONDON.
Secondly, I'm enjoying the journey you've painted so well, with words which flow easily, effortlessly. Nice structure! No pretensions in your style. Backed.

sincerely,
jim

C W Bigelow wrote 1436 days ago

Rebecca - I like the way you introduce Anna and subsequently some of the others through reviews, letters, etc. The atmosphere you've displayed is perfect for the tenuous return and your descriptions are lyrical - each of her reactions to the objects in the house so revealing. Nice job - and will hope to find time to read more. Backed. CW (To Save the Sun)

Owen Quinn wrote 1436 days ago

a multi journey of elf discovery set amid family values and the tregedies that can tear us apart and how grief affects us long after we say we are handling it but here grief is instilled in every character and their choices, whether they know it or not, go back to one tragic event that has shaped them all and no matter what else they have, this thread is connecting them as a family, each faces their own private everest but in the end they all must face the mountain and each other to discover what family really means, written eloquently and with emotion, this touches every reader becasue everyone can relate to this. super cool.

Elijah Enyereibe Iwuji wrote 1436 days ago

Hi Rebecca,

You have finely crafted a most compeling storyline. Elaborate character development and detailed descriptive prowess. Dialogue is well written and paced, and it flows well with the narration. Work constructively done. Goodluck.

Ann Mynard wrote 1436 days ago

Rebecca, Reflective start with a solid beginning which lightens and livens in the exchange of speech. (I can remember the Stepford wives). This is an unhurried, evocative story - one to become engrossed in when time allows. Backed for now.
Backed,
Ann Mynard (Windshadow)

Tari wrote 1436 days ago

Hi there, This is such a literary work and engrossing. Was the name of the purple plant covering the house Wisteria?
Your description really draws the reader in as you involve the senses. The smell of the home, the waxy parka coats. The flashbacks of the children and teenage years, ground the story giving structure.

I liked the way you used the photographs to give deepr insights into the siblings and of Tim which was so poignant to read.

The cut outs of the critiques on Jacoby's work told so much of his grief over Tim. The letter from Sam was rich in content, giving texture. Loved Boyson the labrador. .

Then you cleverly jerk the reader's attention as you write of Philip Dwight.

The conversation between Ana and Mary again captures the reader.

A beautiful narrative here and absorbing story gently unfolding. The house, the interior and the family all give such a solid structure to this work.

Backed with pleasure.

Kind regards,
Katy
Phobic Dawn.

Lee Veinot wrote 1436 days ago

You said in your profile that you have been writing fiction for as long as you can remember, and it shows in your writing. It is so descriptive, so vivid. I only read part of chapter 1, enough to be impressed enough to back you book. Please take the time to check out my 2 books.

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