JANE WAS HERE by Sarah Kernochan


Email this review


In Academy Award–winner Kernochan’s (Dry Hustle, 1977) second novel, the past and present collide in a small New England town, as a young woman struggles to piece together her centuries-old memories.

Graynier, Mass., is a town without distinction. Once the home of the Graynier Glass factory, 150 years later it’s merely a blip on the map. Yet, Brett Sampson, on vacation with a young son he barely knows, feels a connection and fondness he can’t explain. Early one morning, a young woman knocks on his door, claiming to have been born in the summer rental home. A wisp of a girl with only a pink duffel bag, antiquated speech and vague memories, Jane asks to stay, and Brett finds that he can’t say no. Their meeting sets the stage for an innovative drama that seamlessly blends past and present with a supernatural twist that feels genuine and natural. Jane leads a strong cast of characters whose lives and histories are intertwined in ways they could never imagine. Each of Kernochan’s characters, no matter their significance, are exquisitely drawn with intricate back stories full of all the aching flaws and promise that make them human and believable. As Jane begins her quest to remember her past—a life lived over 150 years ago—the inhabitants of Graynier set a collision course with destiny. Brett’s fascination with Jane infuriates his son, Collin, who, along with newfound friend Gita, is convinced Jane is a demon. The two cosmic warriors set out to destroy Jane while Brett tries to dig up the truth to her seemingly impossible story. On parallel paths, Hoyt Eddy, the brilliant town misanthrope, and Marly Walczak, the cheerful local whore, continue their downward spiral of self-destruction, each experiencing disturbing hallucinations that begin the night Jane comes to town. The seemingly disparate lives weave together with beautiful prose that moves quickly to a calamitous end.

A unique tale of karmic revenge that captivates from page one. 

Pub Date: June 14th, 2011
ISBN: 978-0980037722
Page count: 330pp
Publisher: Grey Swan Press
Program: Kirkus Indie
Review Posted Online:


FictionTHE LOVELY BONES by Alice Sebold
by Alice Sebold
FictionTHE TIME TRAVELER’S WIFE by Audrey Niffenegger
by Audrey Niffenegger
IndieTHE HANGING TREE by Michael Phillip Cash
by Michael Phillip Cash