An Indie Next January pick
An Oprah Best Books of January pick
A Pure Wow and People Magazine pick
“How can we know that our memories are true ones, especially when they’re passed down through generations of a family beset by tragedy? The gorgeous new novel from Jamie Harrison (“The Widow Nash”) brilliantly tackles that questionThe Center of Everything” becomes like a waking dream readers won’t want to wake up from." —Caroline Leavitt, The San Francisco Chronicle
"Carrying us along, Polly conjures a richly textured, often lovely life of everyday loss and longing and endless speculation, where 'everything goes missing but everything lives on, at least for a while, in the small kingdom of your head.'”—Ellen Akins, The Washington Post
"Told from multiple viewpoints and suffused with a deep appreciation of place, time passing and human connections, this gorgeous novel is well worth your time." —People
Harrison makes it impossible not only to root for Polly, but to genuinely need to unravel the mystery of her life.—Pure Wow
"Does our personal history rewind when we suffer a traumatic head injury? Harrison’s meticulously crafted, graceful novel plays with the passage of time as Polly, a married Montanan and mother, struggles to sift meaning from the memories and mysteries of her life. Distanced from an overbearing family and her own inner resilience, she runs 'drunk on a carousel of images.'”
"Brilliant . . . Harrison plumbs complex family relationships and sheds insight on the power of memories and how they shape her characters. Harrison shines with passages of vivid imagery as Polly gains an added dimension of perception from looking at art and photographs. Readers will find themselves wishing this won’t end." —Publishers Weekly (starred review)
"Reading The Center of Everything is like traveling further and further into a dream, spiraling around fragments toward a point of love and wonder."―Bookpage
"A sharply intelligent, warmhearted embrace of human imperfection―the kind of book that invites a second reading."
― Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
"Lyrical, profound. . . Recommended for bookclubs and fans of complex, literary fiction."―Booklist
"In this exquisitely nuanced, beautifully constructed novel, Harrison (“Jules Clement” mystery series) draws the reader into young Polly’s filtered understanding of her world, rich with happily married couples, vs. the uncertain reality of the adult Polly, coping with memory loss while slowly untangling shocking family secrets. A magnificent gem."―Library Journal
"This doesn’t feel like a work of fiction. It feels real, like reading someone’s diary. I’m left convinced that these characters have immortal souls, and I find comfort in their familiarity. I want to spend more time in their world, urging them to whisper their secrets in my ear. A brilliant book―I wish I could write like this."
―Jamie Ford, New York Times bestselling author of Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet
"The Center of Everything slips deftly through time, all the while taking the reader to the marvelous unfolding of secrets (both wondrous and murderous) that were right before our eyes. How beautifully our attention is distracted and illuminated in this resonant novel."
―Joan Silber, author of Improvement, winner of the Pen/Faulkner and National Book Critics Circle Award
“The Center of Everything is a bighearted, feet-on-the-ground, bracing, intelligent book. Its people will endure in readers' memories, page after compelling page."
Excerpted in VQR's Winter Issue
Praise from Independent Booksellers
“A powerful examination of memory, loss, motherhood, and the stories that we tell ourselves -- individually and as a community -- to make sense of the world.”—Ariana Paliobagis, Country Bookshelf (Bozeman, MT)
“This is one of those novels whose characters are burnt into my brain—people I now intimately know and remember. Harrison writes Montana and the river as characters in themselves. And she has a masterful way of writing around the secrets we keep for the ones we love. Definitely for fans of Elizabeth Strout, Joan Silber, or Ann Patchett. This is Harrison’s best novel yet, without a doubt, and her most widely accessible.”—Jennifer Kovitz, Dudley’s Bookshop Cafe (Bend, OR)
“I was completely engrossed in this lovely novel, Harrison’s fifth. The tale is told with deep perception, color, and humor, and Harrison’s meticulous rendering of the natural world makes me believe that she inherited much of her dad, Jim Harrison’s, genius. A very wonderful book; highly recommended.”—Lisa Howorth, Square Books (Oxford, MS)
“The writing is crisp, the large cast of characters is adeptly drawn, and plot twists and turns like sheets on a laundry line.” —Grace Harper, Mac's Backs-Books On Coventry (Cleveland Heights, OH)
“A wonderfully written, literary novel; provocative issues of family, memory, tragedy & suspense; a compelling story & amazing writing that encourages a second read.”—Pam Herman, Horizon Books (Traverse City, MI)
“Polly is slipping. Between the past and the present. Action and inaction. Truth and fiction. In this moving family saga, Jamie Harrison shows us the vast expanse of Montana, the tangled paths inside a fragmented mind, and the secrets that help families endure.”—Luisa Smith, Book Passage (Corte Madera, CA)
“This beautifully written book will have you hooked after the first page. Jamie Harrison is brilliant!”—Hillary Smith, Copperfield's Books (Calistoga, CA)
"Jamie Harrison wields a mighty pen with precision and care. . . She has that rare gift of making a fictional story sound like the real thing."―Linda Bond, Auntie's Bookstore (Spokane, WA)
"A novel filled with memories both certain and filled with doubt at the same time. I loved it!"―Anne Holman, The King's English Bookshop (Salt Lake City, UT)