“This big-hearted story about small-town Maine captivated me from the first page. Filled with humor and poetry and complicated characters who love foolishly and too much, The From-Aways is about putting down roots and gazing up at the stars in a place where the rhythms of life are as constant and yet unpredictable as the surf on the shore.”
“I first read CJ Hauser’s work a few years ago and was immediately pulled in by the wit of her prose, her sharp dialogue, and her honesty in portraying the journey of young women trying to find their place in the world. With her enchanting debut novel, The From-Aways, CJ Hauser delivers on her promise of being a writer to root for, a writer to watch, a writer to read.”
“CJ Hauser’s debut novel, The From-Aways, is as charming, salty and fresh as its setting in small-town Maine. Through her spunky heroines, Leah and Quinn, who have both come to Maine to find roots, Hauser tells an affecting story about lobsters, loyalty and love.”
“The From-Aways is populated by twenty-somethings running from and in search of family, by people passionately in pursuit of home. CJ Hauser has written a wise, lovely, luminous novel about love and work and leaving New York. It will make you want to get out your lobster pot and set forth for the coast of Maine.”
“In The From-Aways CJ Hauser introduces us to Menamon, Maine, a town of wisecracking fisherman, activist waitresses, and secret fathers, with such deftness we immediately know and care for it like locals. At its heart, The From-Aways is the story of a hesitant friendship between Quinn, a Bernstein looking for her Woodward, and Leah, a newcomer to Menamon and her marriage to one of its prodigal sons. These compelling, unlikely women rub the sorry states of their lives together to ignite a breathless chain of events that whips clean through to an explosive conclusion that resonated with me for days. I loved spending time in Menamon, and was sorry when I had to go.”
Reviews of The From-Aways
Two young women trying to find their places in the world settle in a small coastal town in Maine and discover purpose, friendship and acceptance.When Leah, a reporter, meets down-to-earth Henry Lynch in a New York City bar, she wastes no time resigning from her job, marrying him and moving into his family home in the small fishing community of Menamon. Leah’s filled with romantic notions about living an idyllic life and fitting in with the locals, but she soon discovers “from-aways” can’t easily dissolve barriers built by common roots and experiences. She also discovers there are things about Henry she doesn’t know and wonders if she fell in love with only the idea of him. Finding work at the Menamon Star, owned by her unfriendly sister-in-law, Leah meets wisecracking tough girl Quinn Winters, another recent transplant to the area. Quinn originally came to town to confront her father, Carter Marks, once a moderately successful folk singer who had an affair with her late mother, but she puts her plans on hold as she sorts through her different reactions to him. Instead, believing no one knows she’s his daughter, she remains in town, gets hired at the paper, falls in love with her roommate, and becomes a self-taught guitarist and songwriter. Quinn’s amateurish prose contrasts with Leah’s professional writing, but the two become drinking buddies and begin to collaborate on pieces. Soon they find themselves embroiled in a story about a building project that polarizes the townsfolk and threatens to change the nature of the entire community. Leah finds that her involvement might help her gain the acceptance she covets but could jeopardize her marriage.As events begin to spin out of control, debut novelist Hauser creates a palpable bond linking characters, readers, a community and a relevant political issue. Hauser’s style is expressive, clever and compelling, and she offers readers a thoughtful and engaging debut.
Two 24-year-old women—both “from-aways” not native to the area—become unlikely allies on a small-town Maine newspaper. Quinn Winters, with her “mediocre journalism degree,” goes to Menamon, Maine, to find her father, semifamous folk singer Carter Marks, who left Quinn’s mother shortly after Quinn’s birth. Native New Yorker Leah Gold leaves her job as a reporter on a prestigious city daily to marry Menamon native Henry Lynch and take the prodigal son home. Working on the Menamon Star, run by Leah’s sister-in-law, Charley Lynch, Quinn and Leah envision themselves the Woodward and Bernstein of the small fishing village, particularly when they stumble on an earth-shaking story about the development the townsfolk are dreading, a story that impacts both their lives enormously. Hauser alternates first-person chapters between her two primary characters to build beautifully rounded characterizations of them and others and form a loving story centered on a place and its effect on its residents. This impressively crafted first novel is likely to leave readers wanting both a Maine lobster dinner and more from this author.