“In this enveloping novel, a mother of teenage boys tries to find her footing in coastal Maine after her husband is injured in a fishing accident. Little cracks have sprouted in every inch of the fortification around this family’s life…”
New York Times Editor’s Choice

 

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Landslide

“In this enveloping novel, a mother of teenage boys tries to find her footing in coastal Maine after her husband is injured in a fishing accident. Little cracks have sprouted in every inch of the fortification around this family’s life, and Conley shows their battle to keep vulnerability at bay. “She has a gift for writing tiny, meaningful interactions,” Hillary Kelly writes in her review. “What is a mom to do with boys these days? That’s not a question with an answer — nobody but the sanctimonious, it seems, really knows precisely how to make good men.”

— A New York Times Editor’s Choice

The TODAY Show’s “Summer Reading List”: “Set in Maine, a state where many people retreat to for a vacation, Landslide is the story of one woman who is anything but at peace. Her husband is in the hospital after an incident at work, her two children are falling from reach and all she can try to do is hold it together.”—“6 Page-Turners,”

— The TODAY Show

“Landslide: a modern-day mother in Maine has to care for her three teenage sons after her husband is hospitalized post-fishing accident. She wrestles with how to support her family in more ways than one in this gorgeous read.”

— Good Morning America’s 24 Books for February

“Warm and enveloping, (Susan Conley) has a gift for writing tiny, meaningful interactions. Sam asks if they can quietly read next to one another, “a sweet leftover from when he was young that he hasn’t let go of.” Charlie comes in and lies on top of them — a boy’s gesture at physical communion — and they all silently surrender to love. Cold sets in, and the Archers move off their little island for the coming long, dark season, just as Sam drifts out of reach and Jill frets more over her husband’s return than she did his absence. But winter is the season of wolves: They are prepared for hardship. Conley isn’t afraid to inject a little hope that (the boys) will find their way back home.”

New York Times Book Review

A Bustle Most Anticipated Books of Winter 2021: “Set in rural Maine, Susan Conley’s new novel centers on Jill, a mother of two boys who finds herself living as a single parent when her husband is hospitalized across the border in Canada. But what begins as a strain on one wife and mother soon spirals out into a wider exploration of family life and function in Landslide.”

— Bustle

“Stunning . . . Conley is masterful in her storytelling. She writes confidently about Jill’s growing lack of confidence in her own parenting skills. She nails the angst and doubt faced by parents of teenagers. Additionally, she assigns Jill the task of narrating on behalf of her wolves, which is no small feat . . . Conley has navigated the fissures of a family in crisis with her usual restraint and humor — all of it set against a backdrop of the state’s rugged coastline. The result is a slice of contemporary Maine life that’s as engaging as it is universal.”

— Joan Silverman, Portland Press Herald

“In spare, incisive prose, Conley captures the beauty and might of nature, a mother’s awesome drive to protect her children, and the fraught trial and error inherent in navigating the complexities of multigenerational family relationships.”

— Booklist

“An invigorating, informative read. Jill’s strong voice throughout gives a sense of immediacy, and the prose is punchy, economical, and wry. We learn how fishing quotas impact her town’s shaky economy and how gentrification is overtaking Maine’s harbor towns, a context that elevates the story beyond mere domestic drama.”

— Library Journal

Landslide grabbed me from the first page; I didn’t come up for air until I reached the end. And then I read it a second time so I could savor the writing, linger over dialogue that moved me, and re-read scenes that grabbed my heart.”

— Nancy Hauswald, Left Bank Books

"Landslide is Susan Conley at her finest. As a mom of soon-to-be teenagers and a wife entering her second decade of marriage, I was enraptured by every chapter of this novel. Everything from the spot-on dialogue to the feelings of fear, loneliness, frustration, jealously, joy and isolation made me feel not only not alone, but seen.” 

— Emily Russo, Owner, Print: A Bookstore

“Susan Conley has knocked it out of the park with Landslide. It is a spectacular tale of hardship and healing told in Conley’s gorgeous, luminous prose. Funny, moving, and deeply insightful, the novel takes such a fresh look at marriage, motherhood, and the wondrous inner lives of teenagers. A truly beautiful and unforgettable love story of a family on the brink.”

— Lily King, author of Writers and Lovers

“I loved Landslide. You are right there feeling the wind, the sea, the danger. Smart, honest, and funny, this is a story you won't forget.”

— Judy Blume

Best New Novels of Winter 2021: “When a fishing accident leaves her husband hospitalized in Canada, Jill must hold down the fort with their teenage sons in their small Maine town. Her sons keep getting into all manner of adolescent trouble, money is tight, and Jill starts to worry that her marriage is crumbling. A compelling portrait of family life, deferred dreams and middle age.”

— New York Post

"Motherhood, loosely defined, was at the center of Conley’s first two novels, and it is again here in her third, a taut family drama that unfolds after the protagonist’s husband is injured in a commercial-fishing accident and she’s left to manage two teenage sons on her own.”

— Downeast Magazine

"Landslide is a powerful portrait of a woman trying to hold herself and her family together in a moment of crisis. With startling clarity, Susan Conley captures the heartache, elation, intensity, and joy of motherhood and charts the emotional life of teenaged boys. Effortlessly readable and engrossing.” 

— Christina Baker Kline, author of Exiles and A Piece of the World

Books I’m Most Excited About in 2021: This absolutely gorgeous novel about a wife whose husband gets hospitalized after a fishing accident, leaving her money-strapped and raising three teen son in Maine, is a modern-day tale of survival.

— Zibby Owens, Moms Don’t Have Time Read

A Biblio Most Anticipated Winter 2021 Novel: Landslide is a stunning novel about a mother caring for her two teenage sons while the crumbling fishing industry her New England community relies on threatens to collapse around them. A beautiful portrait of a family, as compelling as it is moving, and raises the question of how to remain devoted when the eye of the storm closes in.

— Biblio

“Spare, insightful portrait of a family in crisis. If you’ve been reading nonfiction and taken a break from reading novels, “Landslide” by Susan Conley might be a good fictional story to lure you back in. ... the book slides down very fast. I believe the simile is, “Like greased lighting. Unlike so many books of the day, this one has a lovely ending. Not a cliche, not a sappy ending, just an ending to make the reader satisfied and happy.”

— The Florida Times-Union

“With spare yet evocative prose, Susan Conley beautifully renders here the tug and pull of what it means to be the only woman in a family of men, a woman who is trying to raise two boys on an island off the coast of Maine, while also tending to her injured fisherman husband, while also trying to be the film maker she has always hoped to be. Landslide is not only a wonderfully compelling portrait of a dying industry and the people who make their living from it, it is also a love letter to the enduring nature of family itself and the ties that bind us all.”

— Andre Dubus III, author of Townie and Gone So Long

“Somehow, with wizardly brilliance and ease, Conley’s stunning new novel is about the global concerns that bind us all, while also being deeply, sustainably, intimately local. Conley knows about women among men—and women raising men—as thoroughly as she knows the peculiarities, struggles and habits of coastal Maine. She understands how place can imprint itself on a psyche, and her wisdom and humility, as a chronicler of these unforgettable humans, and this beautifully abrasive geography that shapes them, has produced as emotionally meaningful experience I’ve had, as a reader, in just about forever.”

— Heidi Julavitz, author of The Folded Clock

Landslide by Susan Conley is a supple examination of the sweet, enduring electricity generated by the ever-present pairings of darkness and light, fear and security, love and loss. If it sounds like a novel for our current predicament, current opportunity, that’s because it is. Landslide is wise and vulnerable, while Conley’s sweet, dry humor allows us sips of hope for the wonderful characters herein.”

— Rick Bass, author of For a Little While

“From its very first page, Landslide gives the complete and deeply satisfying pleasure of a great novel: a fully realized world peopled by characters you feel you know, or used to know, or wished you knew better. Complicated people trying to sort their way through complicated lives, and the complications are the stuff of ordinary human beings: a mother struggling to manage her teenage sons, her “wolves,” a fishing village in Maine staring down its end, a man in a hospital room miles from his family, and the sharp knife of accident that cuts through our days. As always, Susan Conley’s work allows for the best sort of vanishing. And I went gladly.”

— Sarah Blake, author of The Guest House

“If DH Lawrence had written Sons and Lovers from the maternal perspective, and set his story on the modern coast of Maine, the result would very likely be this novel. Landslide is not only a vicious meditation on the bond between mothers and sons, but a quietly subversive reckoning with the Maine of our literary imagination. So many writers have turned to our coast as a source of innocent beauty; Conley instead reveals how these tidal zones can betray us, and curse us with all of the anger and resentment, sacrifice and pain that can only be redeemed by a searing commitment to love. This is a really powerful book. It cuts right to the bone.”

— Jaed Coffin, author of Roughhouse Friday

“This psychologically probing novel, about a fisherman's wife guiding her teenage sons through a family crisis, is a shockingly honest examination of both the destructive and healing properties of mother love. It kept me reading past bedtime.”

— Monica Wood, author of When We Were the Kennedy’s

“Life in Susan Conley's wondrous new novel Landslide is full of a nagging sense that the past was better than the future could ever be. But it's full of sweetness, and hope, too. A funny, fond, and rueful take on what life on the Maine coast is like after the tourists leave, Landslide will stick with you, and leave you rooting for the flawed family at its heart, even when they sometimes find it hard to root for each other. An unforgettable book.”

— Brock Clarke, author of Who Are You Calvin Bledsoe

“One mother’s journey through the teen years... These conversations were so real that I laughed and cried and ached through each one. I felt two things simultaneously: that I could not handle one more story and that I couldn’t wait to see what the boys would say next. Jill’s life is wrenchingly portrayed in this beautifully written book.”

— Lorie Kleiner Eckert, LorieKleinereckert.com

“Through her disarmingly authentic portrait, Conley speaks volumes about changing ways of life.”

— Publisher’s Weekly

“Conley is at her best when chronicling the very real forces Jill balances while walking a fine line between empathizing with and laying down boundaries for her children… A compelling portrait of a family trying to stay afloat and weather every storm life throws at them.”

—  Kirkus

“Landslide is a chronicle of an artist and mother contending with the hard truth that the foundations we build through love are in fact always shifting. Conley navigates this territory beautifully, in gorgeous prose that depicts equally well the cold mists of coastal Maine and the economic and social troubles that threaten the region. I fell in love with the characters in this story, and was inspired by the protagonist’s struggle to maintain her identity as an artist while building a family and remaining tied to the land of her birth. This is a story about what happens when a rupture forces an examination of the past, and how we find the way to move forward. It is suffused with danger and pain and love and hope, just like family.”

— Sarah Perry, author of After The Eclipse

“This story is so full of life’s ups and downs that you won’t be able to stop thinking about the incidents that happen in your own life. The impact they have on yourself and others. Susan Conley deftly explores the traumas that are hidden in the family — from her sons trying to understand their father’s accident to dealing with the loss of a friend. Landslide is going to be on everyone’s must read list and will be perfect for a book club pick.”

— Kelly Barbara, Owner, Kelly’s Books

Landslide is a powerful portrayal of modern parenting, marriage and family unity that cleverly reveals just how difficult these things can be in this age of social media addiction, teen peer pressure and economic uncertainty. Conley’s writing is crisp and vivid, especially the dialogue between mother and sons, wife and husband. There is some humor, but it’s muted in favor of the real-life family drama she so convincingly exposes.”

Bushnell on BooksThe Kennebec Journal and Morning Sentinel

“What a remarkable story! I was immediately drawn into this family’s story and loved the setting of a tiny Maine fishing village. I loved the conclusion of this book and the way the author reveals that everything is not always black and white. I felt Jill’s interactions with her sons were all incredibly realistic, as painful and funny as they are in real life. I couldn’t wait to see what they would do next! The title of the book is very fitting as it parallels the Stevie Nicks song, and what happens when your life comes crashing down around you.”

— The Book Bellas

”I can already tell that Landslide will end up on my Best Books of 2021 list. Everything about her latest story resonated with me. Jill affectionately thought of her sons as the ‘wolves,’ a perfect metaphor for teenage boys. The constant worry, the guilt she felt, the sacrifices she made, the quandary that is all teenage sons… Conley got it ALL exactly right.”

— Novel Visits

“Susan Conley’s latest book, Landslide, is a beautiful, spare novel about motherhood, adolescence, Maine, middle age, and marriage. It’s a novel about the struggles and challenges of living in our current world, but it is also filled with humor, light, and gorgeous descriptions of the sea. It’s a perfectly balanced novel, and because of this, it’s hard to put down. You might find yourself reading this compelling novel in one sitting!’

— Literary North

"Conley’s novel represents a kind of landslide — of setbacks and confrontations, uncertainty and disquiet. Conley deftly traces the mood swings as the family navigates reprimands, accusations, and Instagram. In the end Landslide is about family and community and how fragile each is… self-reliance will only get you so far; eventually, you’ll need help. This book is about the cycle of innocence lost and found — and re-found. Kudos to Conley for bringing this painful and promising world to life.”

— The Working Waterfront

"A main theme is how families use language, touch, glance and gesture — to see and know each other, to read each other and connect — or not. The novel reminds us that especially in times of trouble and change, it’s important to keep talking. Landslide looks perceptively as this landscape of love. What factors can a parent control and what factors does a parent have no control over? These high stakes are at the heart of the novel. The suspense is all too real.”

— Maine Women Magazine

"Written with humor and grace, Conley crafts a narrative about the many cruelties a family can inflict upon their own while also conveying the delicate ache of a mother watching her children grow away from her. This poignant family portrait explores the daily chaos many parents can relate to, like financial struggles and the volatile nature of adolescents.”

— Hearst CT

A mother’s efforts to carefully navigate the hormonal minefields of parenting teenage boys are documented in Susan Conley’s latest novel Landslide. Written with humor and grace, Conley crafts a narrative about the many cruelties a family can inflict upon their own while also conveying the delicate ache of a mother watching her children grow away from her. This poignant family portrait explores the daily chaos many parents can relate to, like financial struggles and the volatile nature of adolescents.”

The Middletown Press

"Susan Conley is such a gifted writer. I ended up being blown away. She eloquently portrays the feeling of being a woman in a household of men. It was a poignant and satisfying read from page one and I was sorry to see it end. I am so lucky to have read it. Five stars!"

— Sue The Bookie

This book speaks to a family in crisis. Conley so vividly portrays the ‘dance’ that a mother’s journey through parenting in the teen years must be. Jill’s interactions with her sons are a highlight of this book and just feel so real. The bleak setting of a harsh winter in Maine, combined with the complexities and layers of family dynamics, paired so perfectly. Perfect for a book club discussion. This is a book you can get lost in, and I already know it is one that I won’t soon forget. Five stars!” 

— Gen The Bookworm

Landslide is a thoughtful and unflinching deconstruction of the relatively small world in which one woman lives, digging into what it means to love and to be loved. They say that absence makes the heart grow fonder, but what Conley has done here is subvert that notion. That messiness, that refusal to romanticize — that is what makes Landslide resonate so deeply.”

— The Maine Edge

“A simply gorgeous book. We were struck at the unerring eye of the author to write about teenage boys, learning about fishing life in Maine and dealing as a family with something traumatic.”

— The Laurie & Julia Show’s Book Club

“I love it when a book comes along that I can’t put down. Conley’s book is about trying to find their way, a mother longing to prevent her children’s pain, a wife attempting to understand the shifts of an enduring marriage, the not-so-subtle traces of how climate change affects an industry. Throughout Landslide there is line after line of laugh out loud relatable humor. I can’t decide what to read next because everything else pales in comparison.”

— Bookworming Tonight

“Susan Conley’s Landslide achieves the kind of palpable and inviting setting, authenticity of character, and thriller-like urgency of story that make this novel a quick and rewarding read. Set on the Maine coast, the sharply-focused first-person, present tense narrative immerses readers in the consciousness of Jill Archer, without shortchanging the other key characters… In funny, painful, and poignant scenes, Conley captures the language — both verbal and nonverbal — of teen boys and the isolation and paralysis common to traumatized men of this socio-cultural environment. Conley’s compactly eloquent writing carries readers along through both kinds of crisis, showing us the struggles that her earnest and imperfect protagonist experiences, exploring the far reaches of the journey that is ‘family,’ and reminding us that loss is inevitable and empathy is a choice.”

— Ned Bachus, Turning Points

“There are audiobooks enhanced by the author’s voice reading their own words (Becoming by Michele Obama), and those where an otherwise terrific book in print is hindered by the author’s out-loud read (Kamala Harris’ The Truths We Hold.) And then there is the third category, a wonderful book in print made into a terrific listen by a professional actor relating to and embodying the characters (what Jim Dale did for the Harry Potter series). Landlside, Susan Conley’s newest novel, about a contemporary family living (and seemingly sliding) in rural Maine, is the third category audiobook. Read by TV and film actress Rebecca Lowman, Landslide is one of the most pleasing six and a half hour listens currently out there. Conley brilliantly captures the essence of contemporary male teenagers (or “wolves” as Jillian thinks of the current stage her sons are in)... If you have teenage boys in your sphere you will likely recognize them in this book. When Jillian and her boys are together, the listener hears a believable shift from female to male speaker, but feels the shift between the two boys. Landslide is one of those worthwhile reads that’s a highly recommended listen.”

“I was reminded of this study in contrasts when I picked up Susan Conley’s new novel, Landslide. At the center of the book is Jill, who — after a brief foray to Europe in her youth — returned to fictional Sewall, Maine, to marry her longtime love, Kit Archer. A loving portrait of a flawed family trying their best to muddle through, both individually and together.”

Susan is the author of five critically-acclaimed books, including her new novel Landslide. Her previous best-selling novel, Elsey Come Home, was a Most Anticipated/Best Book at Oprah MagazineMarie Claire, Amazon, Pop SugarHuffington PostSouthern Living, Fodorsand others. Her writing has appeared in The New York Times MagazineThe Paris ReviewThe Virginia Quarterly ReviewThe Harvard Review, and others. She’s been awarded multiple fellowships from the MacDowell Colony, as well as fellowships from the Bread Loaf Writers' Conference, The Maine Arts Commission, and the Massachusetts Arts Council. She's won the Maine Book Award and the Maine Award for Publishing Excellence and has been a featured Tedx Speaker, where her talk the "Power of Story," has been viewed widely. She’s taught at numerous colleges and international arts residencies including Emerson College, Colby College, The University of Massachusetts, as the Jack Kerouac Visiting Fellow, The Haystack School, The Spannochia Foundation, La Napoule Foundation, and The Beijing Hutong. She’s on the faculty of the Stonecoast MFA Program and is co-founder of the Telling Room, a creative writing lab for kids in Portland, Maine.