Early Reviews for Elsey Come Home

“I loved Elsey Come Home. The exotic setting, the characters Elsey meets along the way—her husband, her little girls, her dilemma. And the writing, spare and lovely. What more can I say—perfect.”

— Judy Blume

“I love Elsey—her vulnerability, and self-awareness, and her love for her daughters, which permeates the novel. This book is lush with colors, smells, and sounds, and has a compulsive, deeply gratifying shape. We’re allowed to witness Elsey in all her glory, even when she’s unable to see herself clearly.”

— Lewis Robinson, author of Water Dogs

“What a quirky little gem of a book Susan Conley has written. I’m still trying to figure out how she created a character so seemingly lost to herself without losing me in the process. There’s genuine alchemy here.”

— Richard Russo, author of Everybody’s Fool

“Elsey’s voice is a triumph. It sings. The writing is exquisite and tells the story of someone who has lost herself to the point that the pain in her life threatens to divide her from the people she loves most. There is so much is at stake here, and even the small moments resonate. I loved, loved this novel.”

— Lily King, author of Euphoria

Elsey Come Home is a thing of wonder and beauty, a novel about faraway places, both internal and external. I read this in one thirsty gulp, and through its window was shown certain truths about the joy, pain, and intricacy of marriage, and of being. Susan Conley is a magical writer; this book is her magic.”

— Mike Paterniti, author of The Telling Room

“Elsey Come Home is a triumph, a book of powerful women and even more powerful tradition. Contemporary China comes vividly to life alongside American friendships, family, and fortune good and bad—love and illness, pleasure and addiction, connection and misunderstanding, brittle trips back home. I love Susan Conley’s sentences—spare but lyrical, hard-edged but melodic, not a word extra, a story so big no Talking Circle could ever contain it.”

— Bill Roorbach, author of The Remedy of Love and The Girl of the Lake

“Elsey Come Home is a delicious read, vivid and delicately wrought, and so very prescient with regard to the mother-child bond that it’s almost eerie. I kept finding myself thinking,how did she know? and how did she find the words? An engrossing, moving meditation on family, loss, creativity, secrets, culture, and the bonds that hold our lives together against the odds.”

— Carolina De Robertis, author of The Gods of Tango

"Conley's novel illustrates the power of storytelling as a process for healing. What entices and endures here is the voice: dreamy, meditative, hypnotic, and very real."

— Kirkus Review

Elsey Come Home

“Probing questions about how to balance motherhood, a career, marriage, and a drinking problem resonate throughout Conley’s excellent novel. Conley hits the mark on a story line that feels both high-stakes and fine-tuned. It’s the raw description of Elsey’s inner dialogue that elevates the novel, making for an honest and astute depiction of the human psyche."

— Publishers Weekly, Starred Review

Southern Living’s Best New Books Coming Out Winter 2019: The titular character in Susan Conley’s moving new novel Elsey Come Home is a painter, mother, and wife who much embark on a journey through addiction toward recover and healing in order to find her way back home.

Elsey Come Home, a new novel that delves into the darkest corners of addiction, marriage, and motherhood

When Elsey's husband, Lukas, hands her a brochure for a weeklong mountain retreat, she knows he is really giving her an ultimatum: Go, or we're done. Once a successful painter, Elsey set down roots in China after falling passionately for Lukas, the tall, Danish MC at a warehouse rave in downtown Beijing. Now, with two young daughters and unable to find a balance between her identities as painter, mother, and, especially, wife, Elsey fills her days worrying, drinking, and descending into desperate unhappiness. So, brochure in hand, she agrees to go and confront the ghosts of her past. There, she meets a group of men and women who will forever alter the way she understands herself: from Tasmin, another (much richer) expat, to Hunter, a young man whose courage endangers them all, and, most important, Mei—wife of one of China's most famous artists and a renowned painter herself—with whom Elsey quickly forges a fierce friendship and whose candidness about her pain helps Elsey understand her own. But Elsey must risk tearing herself and Lukas further apart when she decides she must return to her childhood home—the center of her deepest pain—before she can find her way back to him. Written in a voice at once wry, sensual, blunt, and hypnotic, Elsey Come Home is a modern odyssey and a quietly dynamic portrait of contemporary womanhood.

Author of the memoir The Foremost Good Fortune, an O, the Oprah Magazine "Top Ten" pick, and the debut novel Paris Was the Place, a People magazine Top Pick, Conley returns with a new novel carrying the poignancy and fraught scrape of relationships that characterized them both.

— Library Journal Pre-pub Pick