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Jean Thompson

Biography

Jean Thompson

Jean Thompson is a novelist and short story writer, whose most recent novel is THE POET'S HOUSE. She has published nine previous novels, including THE YEAR WE LEFT HOME and WIDE BLUE YONDER, and six short story collections, including the National Book Award finalist WHO DO YOU LOVE.

Thompson’s short fiction has been published in many magazines and journals, including The New Yorker, and been anthologized in The Best American Short Stories and Pushcart Prize. Her work has been praised by Elle Magazine as “bracing and wildly intelligent writing that explores the nature of love in all its hidden and manifest dimensions.”

Jean has been the recipient of Guggenheim and National Endowment for the Arts fellowships, among other accolades, and taught creative writing at the University of Illinois–Champaign/ Urbana, Reed College, Northwestern University, and many other colleges and universities. She lives in Urbana, Illinois.

Jean Thompson

Books by Jean Thompson

by Jean Thompson - Fiction, Women's Fiction

Carla is in her 20s and still unsure what direction her life will take. Viridian is a lauded and lovely aging poet whose reputation has been defined by her infamous affair with a famous male poet, Mathias, many years earlier. When Carla is hired to work at Viridian's house, she is perplexed by this community of writers. And still she becomes enamored with Viridian and her whole circle, and especially with the power of words. As Viridian’s standing begins to fade, a number of people angle to gain possession of Mathias’ cycle of poems written about Viridian, a cycle he famously burned as he read them. Yet long after Mathias' death, one copy may still rest with Viridian. If so, why won't she release it?

by Jean Thompson - Fiction

Spanning from World War II to the present, A CLOUD IN THE SHAPE OF A GIRL is about three generations of the Wise family --- Evelyn, Laura and Grace --- as they hunt for contentment amid chaos of their own making. We see these women and their trials, small and large: social slights and heartbreaks; marital disappointments and infidelities; familial dysfunction; mortality. One of the burning questions Jean Thompson asks is: By serving her family, is a woman destined to repeat the mistakes of previous generations, or can she transcend the expectations of a place, and a time? Can she truly be free?

by Jean Thompson - Family Life, Fiction, Women's Fiction

The night that Jane and Bonnie meet on a college campus sets them on paths forever entwined. Bonnie, the wild and experimental one, has spent the past two decades bouncing between ill-fated relationships, while Jane’s seemingly perfect life and family have all but materialized out of a fantasy. But these appearances contradict the quiet, inescapable doubt Jane feels about her life. One night, in the middle of her own Christmas party, she steps outside into the snow, removes her clothing and shoes, and lies down in the backyard. As Jane begins to have visions and retreat into a private inner world, Bonnie finds herself drawn inevitably into an affair with Jane’s husband.

by Jean Thompson - Fiction

After surviving a shooting at her high school, Linnea is packed off to live with her estranged father. His neighbor, Christie, is a nurse distracted by an eccentric patient, Mrs. Foster, who has given Christie the reins to her Humanity Project, a bizarre and well-endowed charity fund. Meanwhile, Conner, the Fosters’ handyman, has become the one person in which Linnea can confide. As these characters and many more hurtle toward their fates, the Humanity Project is born: Can you indeed pay someone to be good? At what price?