“A beautifully written, thoroughly engaging novel. Deborah Reed’s prose is lyrical, elegant, and vivid—she is a standout among new American novelists.”—Jessica Anya Blau, author of The Summer of Naked Swim Parties and Drinking Closer to Home
Famed alt-country artist Annie Walsh has more than enough reason to sing her version of the blues, including a broken heart, a stalled career, and a troubled family. Annie seeks refuge from an upended love affair with her producer, Owen Pettybone, by sequestering herself at home with her old dog Detour, surrounded by a lush Florida tangelo grove. Soon, however, this quiet, small-town existence—far from recording studios, ardent fans, and affairs of the heart—comes crashing down around her. A violent murder connected to her brother Calder threatens to tear her family apart and forces Annie to shore up her loyalties and uproot profound disappointments from her distant past. Like a fine and forlorn love ballad, the gifted, conflicted Annie lulls the reader into a journey through love and loss that mines the mysterious, and, at times, paradoxical rhythms of the human heart.
“Deborah Reed has written here a novel peopled with real, flesh-and-bone characters—men and women both as good and delightfully flawed as our best friends, our spouses, ourselves. And the icing on this cake is Reed’s lucid, lovely prose.”—Kirsten Sundberg Lunstrum, author of This Life She’s Chosen and Swimming with Strangers
A BEST BOOK of 2011 Amazon Editors’ Pick.
“Deborah Reed takes a long look at love in this graceful novel. The kind of love that ravages and lays waste to her characters, and the kind of love that might finally save us all.”—Bonnie Jo Campbell, author of Once Upon a River, and a National Book Award finalist for American Salvage
"Deborah Reed's novel, Carry Yourself Back to Me, marries gorgeous and wise prose with a can't-help-but-read-one-more-chapter plot. In it, Reed weaves a complex story of love and longing that's mysterious, intelligent and full of heart. She had me from page one." –Cheryl Strayed, author of Wild
"Deborah Reed writes with stunning precision and grace, and with great insight into the emotional lives of her characters. CARRY YOURSELF BACK TO ME is a suspenseful, entertaining and psychologically complex novel by a gifted new writer." –Andrew Porter, author of The Theory of Light & Matter (Flannery O'Connor Award) and In Between Days
"Written in lush prosaic language, Carry Yourself Back to Me is a study in the range and depth of human emotion, breathing new life into the story of love and loss through the experience of richly-developed characters as they navigate their complex relationships… Reed takes the reader on a narrative journey as lyrical and familiar as the saddest love song.”—PORTLAND BOOK REVIEW
“Reed [writes] beautifully, with a gift for revealing her characters’ pain and strength in equal measures.” —ORLANDO SENTINEL
“Highly recommended… One of the images Reed uses repeatedly and to good effect is that of things being scrubbed clean, refreshed, renewed with a clean(er) slate. And a version of that is what the reader feels upon finishing this book: the mind is filled, yes, but expanded. Reed nudges outward the mind’s corners, broadening the space to fit a new good story.” —BOOKSLUT
“This ain’t no simple love story. It’s more like the story of our lives, rendered up close and very personal. It’s also remarkably akin to how our lives have been put to song by traditional American troubadours, primarily of the Southern variety. That’s not to say Reed’s forlorn tale is the mere literary equivalent of a country song, mind you. But it isn’t very difficult to imagine Patsy Cline or June Carter Cash voicing the sentiments that make this such a compelling debut.” —SUN POST WEEKLY
"Carry Yourself Back To Me is a beautifully written, thoroughly engaging novel. Deborah Reed's prose is lyrical, elegant, and vivid--she is a standout among new American novelists." —Jessica Anya Blau, author of The Summer of Naked Swim Parties, and Drinking Closer to Home
"Deborah Reed has written here a novel peopled with real, flesh-and-bone characters—men and women both as good and delightfully flawed as our best friends, our spouses, ourselves. And the icing on this cake is Reed's lucid, lovely prose. Carry Yourself Back to Me is, simply, a pleasure to read." —Kirsten Sundberg Lunstrum, author of This Life She's Chosen, and Swimming With Strangers
"Deborah Reed's novel, Carry Yourself Back To Me, tells the compelling story of long-held family secrets, romantic entanglements and a small town murder that starts it all unraveling. With deft humor and insight and a marvelous sense of pacing, Reed explores the limits of trust and loyalty, the enduring nature of family bonds, and the clash between illusions and truth in the quest for lasting love." —Jim Tomlinson, author of Things Kept, Things Left Behind (Iowa Short Fiction Award)
"Deborah Reed writes beautifully about the interlocking puzzles of romantic and family love, and the patterns that play out from generation to generation. While her protagonist is a master of the sad song, Reed achieves a symphonic effect–rich, intense and surprisingly joyful." —Dawn Raffel, author of Carrying The Body, and The Secret Life of Objects
"Gritty, lyrical, and suspenseful. The jealousies, desires, and hopes of the characters feel grippingly real. Reed has written a beautiful book." —Deborah Willis, author of Vanishing and Other Stories (finalist for the Governor General's Award)