Praise for So Much Pretty
“This beautiful, stealthy novel creeps up on the mesmerized reader, subtly drawing new strands into itself until what begins as the suspenseful story of a rural American murder grows into a dark, disquieting and urgently fascinating examination of the violence and concealment practiced by a whole society. By choosing a small town canvas on which to paint her big picture, Hoffman achieves a focused intensity which she holds on the very edge of anger, without once giving in to it. She never surrenders the compassion, insightfulness and humor that make her a masterful navigator of the human heart. This is an impassioned, intelligent and important work of art, and with it Hoffman takes her place in that select group of American novelists including Philipp Meyer and Adam Haslett who, eschewing nihilism and hauteur, write with urgency and passion about what is really going on out there.”
—Chris Cleave, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Little Bee and Incendiary
"So Much Pretty is everything I love in a novel - dark, fascinating, beautifully written, impossible to put down. It marks the beginning of what promises to be an indelible literary career for Cara Hoffman."
-Lauren Grodstein, author of A Friend of the Family
"So Much Pretty is certain to be talked about—not merely because it is a profound meditation on both public and private violence in small-town America, but for its captivating storytelling which draws you in on a visceral level and leaves you feeling haunted, in the best of ways."
—Philipp Meyer, author of American Rust
"So Much Pretty is a compelling whodunit, an unnerving portrait of just what the back of nowhere looks like, and an arresting meditation on our culture's ongoing acceptance of violence against women. It's powered by both a despairing tenderness and an unflinching rage, each of which, as the novel makes heartbreakingly clear, are more than justified."
-Jim Shepard, author of Like You'd Understand Anyway
"So Much Pretty unravels a narrative that's rich with suspense and moral complexity. Delicately balancing two story lines, Cara Hoffman, dramatizes a death and a disappearance. Along the way, we get caught up in her portraits of those who belong, those who don't, and the irreversible consequences of lives coming together. This story of violence begetting violence is a fine debut."
-Lee Martin, author of The Bright Forever
"A passionately angry and shocking book. Cara Hoffman not only discovers the heart of darkness in small town Haeden, but brilliantly dissects it.
-Rosamund Lupton, author of Sister
SO MUCH PRETTY
So Much Pretty is a novel about family, community, and storytelling.
The Pipers are a family built on optimism. On deeply felt ideals and commitment to their community. Claire and Gene moved with their precocious, beguiling daughter Alice to Haeden, New York for a fresh start, to give Alice the freedom and opportunity they always wanted for themselves. In doing so, they unwittingly re-write the story of her life.
Wendy White has strong roots in Haeden, a late-blooming young woman just striking out on her own, but mindful of family and home. Her story has a beginning and an end, but is missing the most important piece—the middle. What happened to Wendy White?
Stacey Flynn is a reporter, both a seeker and a teller of stories. It is gritty, relentless and ultimately reckless Flynn who will chronicle Wendy White’s existence from all the fragments she can find, and forge a path toward the end.
But only we will ever know the whole story.