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

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