An emotional story told in honest and haunting detail, Without Jenny is an intimate portrait of a loving marriage stretched to the breaking point by the unspeakable.
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Joy Rosenberg thinks she’s the luckiest person in the world, with satisfying work, a passionate marriage, an excellent bicycle and two great kids. But when ten-year-old Jenny is killed, Joy’s life is destroyed.
Tortured by visions of the accident and twisted by guilt, she feels doomed to a life of unremitting darkness. Judaism holds her, but how could God have taken her child? Family, friends, work, athletics—nothing can restore the world she had. Joy struggles to live a life of purpose and compassion while grief is tearing it apart. Can she forgive herself and learn to love again, or will she lose her husband and son forever?
“Gunther vividly dramatizes how grief isolates us from others and from the petty concerns of the living, movingly depicting the courage it takes simply to go on surviving. There are no palliative proverbs here—no reassurance that suffering strengthens us, no sense that time heals all wounds. This novel draws us intimately close to the mysteries of imperfect love and of human resilience.”
–Catherine Brady, winner of the Flannery O’Connor Award for Short Fiction
“Without Jenny is a heartbreaking journey of love and loss, of mourning and memory, of faith and doubt. Mark Gunther offers his readers a meditation on strength, courage and the healing power of family.”
–Rabbi Naomi Levy, author of Einstein and the Rabbi
“From puzzling visions that challenge her perceptions of her once-ordered world to specific challenges faced by couples who mourn differently, Without Jenny holds the ability to immerse its readers both in the process of grief and in the challenges to recovery. . . . It’s a highly recommended pick for literature readers able to fully absorb the story’s various themes, character conundrums and growth, insights on Jewish rituals and philosophy, and how a family moves through a touch-and-go situation to embrace life once again.”
–Diane Donovan, Midwest Review of Books