EARLY LEAVING by Judy Goldman
Publisher William Morrow/Harper, September 2004
In EARLY LEAVING, the second novel by highly regarded poet and novelist
Judy Goldman, readers are told the story of a comfortably middle class
mother who wakes one morning to find the police at her door to arrest
Early, her only son -a star athlete and honor student- for murder. We meet
a woman who is so protective of her son --over-involved, suffocating at
times -- that the only way out for him is to disappoint her profoundly.
And he does.
The novel opens before his sentencing. Told in first person, readers
witness the mother as she probes the pieces of the past and as she wonders
if there was any point when she might have come between her son and what
lay in wait for him. Was it just the randomness of fate and its
consequences? Or was she possibly the cause?
In both poetry and fiction, Judy Goldman brilliantly mines the internal
world of her female characters. Her work is likely to remind readers of
novels by Sue Miller, Ann Packer, Lee Smith, and Rosellen Brown.
Judy Goldman, a local NPR commentator, is the author of two books of poetry and the critically
acclaimed novel, THE SLOW WAY BACK, a finalist for the Southeast
Bookseller Association's annual fiction award. Her work is widely
published in literary journals and anthologies. She frequently reads from
her work and teaches at workshops and conferences throughout the country.
EARLY LEAVING will scare you and break your heart, even as it thrills
and inspires. This novel grabs the reader by the throat and won't let go.
Judy Goldman shows that she has become one of our finest novelists in this
drama of marriage and motherhood. She takes a close look at our culture,
at ourselves, and what she reveals is both moving and true.
-- Robert Morgan, author of Gap Creek and Brave Enemies