ONE OF THE WASHINGTON POST'S TEN BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR
One of Christian Science Monitor's BEST FICTION OF 2019
"Funny and tender but also provocative and wise. . . One of the most hopeful and insightful novels I've read in years." - Ron Charles, The Washington Post
"Serious yet joyous comedy, reminiscent of the Pultizer-winning Less" - Out Magazine
A novel about what happens when an already sprawling family hosts an even larger and more chaotic wedding: an entertaining story about family, culture, memory, and community.
In the seemingly idyllic town of Rundle Junction, Bennie and Walter are preparing to host the wedding of their eldest daughter Clem. A marriage ceremony at their beloved, rambling home should be the happiest of occasions, but Walter and Bennie have a secret. A new community has moved to Rundle Junction, threatening the social order and forcing Bennie and Walter to confront uncomfortable truths about the lengths they would go to to maintain harmony.
Meanwhile, Aunt Glad, the oldest member of the family, arrives for the wedding plagued by long-buried memories of a scarring event that occurred when she was a girl in Rundle Junction. As she uncovers details about her role in this event, the family begins to realize that Clem's wedding may not be exactly what it seemed. Clever, passionate, artistic Clem has her own agenda. What she doesn't know is that by the end, everyone will have roles to play in this richly imagined ceremony of familial connection-a brood of quirky relatives, effervescent college friends, ghosts emerging from the past, a determined little mouse, and even the very group of new neighbors whose presence has shaken Rundle Junction to its core.
With Strangers and Cousins, Leah Hager Cohen delivers a story of pageantry and performance, hopefulness and growth, and introduces a winsome, unforgettable cast of characters whose lives are forever changed by events that unfold and reverberate across generations.
Leah Hager Cohen is the author of five works of nonfiction, including Train Go Sorry, and five novels, including The Grief of Others, which was longlisted for the Orange Prize and the IMPAC Dublin Literary Award and was a finalist for the Dayton Literary Peace Prize. She is the Barrett Professor of Creative Writing at the College of the Holy Cross.