One hot week in August 1954, in Heaven, Indiana, a baby is secretly delivered twice: first in a barn by her grandfather Lester, the next day to the tent door of a carnival fortune-teller by her grandmother Helen. Nadja grows up traveling the carnival circuit with her adoptive Granny, learning to develop her own gifts of precognition by reading the leftovers on Midwestern dinner plates.
In spite of the penchant Heaven's denizens have for quietly getting into each other's business, a great many secrets remain hidden, stuffed into apron pockets, tucked into attic trunks, locked into desk drawers, forgotten in underground passageways. When Nadja and Granny reappear in Heaven, and these stories are teased into the open, the town is forever changed.
Pioneer Valley folks! You can buy Heaven, Indiana at Federal Street Books in Greenfield—and you can order autographed copies, as well.
Named to Kirkus Reviews' Best Books of 2018
"Buried secrets churn beneath the placid surface of a small town in this tragicomic debut novel ...rendered in pitch-perfect dialogue by sharply drawn characters whose folksiness still encompasses layers of complication and conflict. A bit like a darker-tinged version of Garrison Keillor's Lake Wobegon narrative, Maher's fictive universe unfolds with richly humorous details and expansive meaning.
"A funny, poignant tale of an imperfect paradise." —Kirkus Reviews (Best Books of 2018) - Read the full review.
"[Maher's] is a tale, however, that while spiced with the flavor of classics, feels notably original in its depiction of the events and individuals who make up her setting.... Her character development is rich, full, and eschews stereotypes for solid human beings whom we all seem to have run across at one time or another.... One of the many pleasures of this book is the way that the plot itself sets up, settles, is buffeted by events, then makes its way toward an emotional climax.... This book about a small town provides big rewards. Engaging, involving, and very well written, it will undoubtedly hold the reader's interest throughout." —US Review of Books
"There is something about the loneliness and self-sufficiency of the characters, something about their secrets and their passions, their loyalties and the fact that they remain mysteries to each other, that keeps me attached to this book in a way I can only assert, but not explain." —Susan Koppelman, editor, Between Mothers and Daughters: Stories Across a Generation (The Women's Stories Project)
"Magical realism comes to the heartland...A rich amalgam of a novel. Heaven, Indiana is out of this world and so much of it." —Michael Martone, author, The Moon over Wapakoneta
"A story of crossed paths, of roads not taken, a leaving and a homecoming. This little bit of Heaven leaves us wanting more." —Wendy Fawthrop, Seattle Union Record
Finalist, Eric Hoffer Book Award, 2011