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Eleanor Henderson Books In Order

Publication Order of Standalone Novels

Ten Thousand Saints (2011) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Twelve-Mile Straight (2017) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Publication Order of Non-Fiction Books

Labor Day (2014) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Eleanor Henderson is an award winning American author, who is known for writing historical fiction and young adult books. She is particularly famous for writing the books called Ten Thousand Saints. This book was included in the list of the top 10 novels of the year 2011 by the NY Times. It was also a finalist for the prestigious Los Angeles Times Prize. Author Henderson’s birth took place in Greece, but she spent her initial years growing up in Florida. She completed her graduation from the Virginia University and the Middlebury College. Author Henderson holds an MFA. The essays and stories written by her have featured in a number of publications such as Ninth Letter, The Wall Street Journal, Agni, Poets and Writers, The New York Times, The Virginia Quarterly Review, etc. Author Henderson has collaborated with Anna Solomon for editing Labor Day, a 2014 essay anthology about the true birth stories by the top women writers. In addition to being a noteworthy author, Henderson also works as an associate professor at the Ithaca College. She is happily married and has a couple of sons. As of today, author Henderson resides in Ithaca, New York, along with her loving husband and children. Henderson was once a visiting writer at the Syracuse University’s MFA Program. From Middlebury College, author Henderson earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in the subject of American Literature. And from the University of Virginia, she obtained her MFA in Fiction Writing. The other jobs that author Henderson has been involved in apart from her writing career include being an assistant professor, an associate professor, a graduate instructor, and a visiting writer. The literary career of author Henderson comprises of 2 novels, a few short fiction stories, some short nonfiction books, and poetry.

The first novel written by author Eleanor Henderson in her career is entitled ‘Ten Thousand Saints’. It was released by the Ecco publication in the year 2011. Author Henderson has set this book’s story in Pennsylvania, New York, and Vermont in the United States. The lead characters described by her in the plot include Jude Keffy-Horn, Teddy, Johnny, Eliza, etc. At the start of the book’s story, it is shown that Jude Keffy-Horn is adopted by a couple of diehard hippies. He is marginal and restless, and spends much of his time getting high along with his best buddy named Teddy in the deeply numbing and bucolic town in Vermont. But, after the death of Teddy because of drug overdose on 1987’s last day, the relationship of Jude Keffy Horn with his parents and drugs undergoes new extremes. He is sent to stay with his father, who does pot dealings, in the East Village of New York City. There, Jude comes across an underground culture of youths known among themselves as straight edge. This culture is powered by hardcore punk’s paradoxical aggression, and the righteous tolerance of sex, meat, and drugs. Jude is joined by the half brother of Teddy and a new friend named Eliza to honor the memory of Teddy through his clean lifestyle. However, the addiction of Jude to straight edge seems to have its own deadly consequences. And while the teenagers strive to discover their own selves, their family members struggle with the generation’s radical re-interpretation of drugs, sex, rock ‘n’ roll, and their awareness about nurture and nature, brotherhood, loss, etc. The storyline of the book moves backward and forward between Vermont & New York City. Overall, the book is a well observed story about the frayed tangle of the parents that is brought together by death, and then carried forward in the anticipation of an unexpected new life. Author Henderson has depicted a rich portrait of the struggles uniting and dividing generations in the modern age with the use of her excellent, masterful, and empathy skill. All these factors helped the book to become a huge success and allowed author Henderson establish herself in the writing field.

Another exciting book that author Henderson wrote in her career is called ‘The Twelve-Mile Straight’. This book was also published by Ecco publication in 2017. Author Henderson has done the setting of this novel’s plot in rural Georgia at the tie of the years of the Prohibition and Depression. The central characters described by her include Elma Jesup, Nan, Genus Jackson, Juke, etc. At the beginning of the story of the book, it is depicted Elma Jesup is the daughter of a white sharecropper living in Cotton County, Georgia. One night, she gives birth to twins, one dark and one light skinned. A field hand named Genus Jackson, who was accused of raping Elma Jesup, is dragged and lynched by the villagers. He is tied behind a truck and is dragged down the Twelve Mile Straight, which is a road that leads to a nearby town. During the aftermath of the event, the inhabitants of the farm are forced to make themselves content with the complexity of the serial events that ended in the death of a man and the irrevocable fracturing of a family. On the other hand, Elma Jesup decides to raise her kids with her best efforts in spite of the curious whispers and prying eyes. She lives with her mercurial father named Juke and takes care of her babies.

Elma Jesup is assisted by a black housekeeper named Nan, who seems to be very close to her like a sister. Later, it becomes apparent that the thing that bind everyone together is much more intricate that they could have imagined. And as the startling revelations begin to mount, the family starts to collapse with a web full of lies. The precarious world of the family destabilizes, and forces them to accept the painful truth. On the whole, the story is dark, sad, brutal, and gruesome. Author Henderson’s writing reflects the motivations and thoughts of the primary characters very well. Author Henderson says that it is a real saga of white and black families. Many critics reviewed the book positively and praised the efforts of author Henderson in coming up with such an original story. One element of the book that author Henderson has very nicely explained is that of the era of historical shame, when the white men used to control and abuse black women and the white women hardly had any control over their lives. The fans of author Henderson appreciated this gut punching and gritty description very much. Numerous critics spoke highly of this historically significant novel and recommended it as a must read for all those who like to read such books.

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