One frigid, January morning in Manhattan, a new father, racked by sleep deprivation, decides to let his wife sleep in—then spontaneously flees lower Manhattan with the baby for a weekend in the Caribbean. It wasn’t a kidnapping, he wasn’t leaving his wife; he just wanted to spend a little time with the baby and give his wife a break. When the wife awakes, truly rested for the first time in nearly a year, she feels great—and embarks on a city adventure as misguided in its own way as her husband’s impulsive escape.
Told from the couple’s alternating points of view, the story unfolds across one life-changing long weekend. The wife tries to recapture who she was before the baby. The husband struggles to care for his daughter—far from the special homemade formula and high-end diapers she requires. Parenting had seemed like such a doable idea—until they tried to do it. Lucky, highly educated Americans, this couple barely survives making the first real sacrifice of their lives. But survive it they do, in a hilarious, touching, tour de force debut about passion, ambivalence, and love.
“Thea Goodman’s astute debut novel poses the question, What if you were to step out of your embedded life? And her discerning mind answers it with a tale of Manhattanites more inextricably bound together than they might imagine.” —Susan Minot, author of Evening
“From its first alarming domestic scene to its far-from-inevitable, unbearably true conclusion, The Sunshine When She’s Gone is a faultless portrait of a marriage in crisis and the precarious paths we all must take to keep our lives in balance. Ever been in love? This book will shake you, jolt you, wake you up to life.” —Patrick Sommerville, author of The Cradle and This Bright River
“Thea Goodman has made something I would’ve thought impossible: an edge-of-your-seat narrative about parenting a small child. Her emotional investment in her characters is complete as they confront each other, themselves, and the heavy weight of new love.” —Nell Freudenberger, author of The Newlyweds