Up From The Blue

Up from the Blue is the story of a 1970s bi-polar housewife who goes missing and her daughter who won’t give up the search for her.

Praise for Up from the Blue:

Reminds me of “The Glass Castle” by Jeannette Walls. I would recommend this book to everyone. —Rosie O’Donnell

Susan Henderson’s UP FROM THE BLUE deftly portrays a family with contradictions we can all relate to—it’s beautiful and maddening, hopeful and condemning, simple, yet like a knot that takes a lifetime to untangle. This is a book that you will love completely, even as it hurts you. It is a heartbreaking, rewarding story that still haunts me. I absolutely loved this book…gushingly, unequivocally, loved it. —Jamie Ford, New York Times bestselling author of HOTEL ON THE CORNER OF BITTER AND SWEET 

UP FROM THE BLUE is a rare literary page-turner full of shocking discoveries and twists. Susan Henderson has created a remarkable narrator – as memorable for her feistiness as for her tenderness. UP FROM THE BLUE is going to be one of this year’s major debuts. —Josh Kilmer-Purcell, NY Times bestselling author of I AM NOT MYSELF THESE DAYS 

As I read this brilliant debut novel, I kept thinking that if I was still working on a bookstore sales floor, I could handsell a bunch (bookseller shorthand for dozens, maybe hundreds) of copies. “You have got to read this,” I would say, like an incantation. —Robert Gray, Shelf Awareness, Top 10 Books of 2010

I am obsessed with this book! —Nora Rawlinson, Early Word

[A]n unsettling, yet beautiful story you won’t soon forget. —NPR

This novel is entirely compelling. Beautifully rendered and absolutely rich in symbolism and metaphor, it is the perfect book to discuss seminal moments in life, how they affect growing up, and how people are able to move on.—American Library Association, book club choice for fall of 2012

Susan Henderson makes real the magic and terror of childhood with such vivid uncanny accuracy that I can almost imagine being a child again. She takes readers back into the world of children like no other writer today—without cloying sentimentality, and without the wild hysteria of memoir. Funny, smart, innocent, and wicked, her narrator is one of the most memorable voices to show up in fiction in ages. —Jim Daniels, Pushcart and Brittingham Prize winner, and author of NO PETS, DETROIT TALES, PLACES/EVERYONE, PUNCHING OUT M-80, BLESSING THIS HOUSE, BLUE JESUS, NIGHT WITH DRIVE-BY SHOOTING STARS, LETTERS TO AMERICA: CONTEMPORARY AMERICAN POETRY ON RACE

[An] elegant debut… Henderson’s fascinating novel fearlessly examines the complexities of depression, romantic and filial love, and motherhood. Beautiful, funny, sad, and complicated…. —Publishers Weekly, starred review

A stunning debut written with assurance and humour, in the vein of Lionel Shriver, Mark Haddon, and Emma Donoghue. —One World Publications

This incredibly accomplished debut novel is part mystery, part coming-of-age, and totally enthralling. —Sarah-Kate Lynch, New Zealand Woman’s Weekly

One of the most engrossing and sensitively written portraits of a family struggling with mental illness that I’ve read. —Nicky Pellegrino, New Zealand Herald

@LitPark – I love ur book – almost done with it – would u like to come on my radio show? —@Rosie O’Donnell

UP FROM THE BLUE, a debut novel by Susan Henderson, examines maternal love and tells the story, with unsettling grace and hope, of the relationship and love between mother and daughter. This is a compelling love story, but one that will continue to haunt you months after you finish reading it. —San Francisco Book Review

Memories of an eight-year-old self wild and uncontrollable, a disciplinarian father, a cowed brother, a mother, intensely loved but led to disturbing and extreme acts, and the one year when the bonds of family were finally stretched too far. UP FROM THE BLUE is a spirited debut from an author boldly following in the footsteps of Lionel Shriver and Mark Haddon. 5 Stars! —Book Hugger (UK)

A breathtakingly beautiful book. —2de Ronde (2nd Round Books, The Netherlands)

A beautifully told and incredibly moving tale. —The Sun (United Kingdom)

With great empathy Henderson summarizes the thinking of the girl, who later will understand why her childhood was so different! —Gazet van Antwerpen

This is Susan Henderson’s first novel, but from the poise she brings to its wrenching subject matter you won’t be surprised to learn that she is already a published – and praised – poet and short story writer. Fierce and tender, [UP FROM THE BLUE] offers a child’s eye view of depression, with an unsolved mystery at its heart. —The Daily Mail (United Kingdom)

Thoughtfully written…beautiful and utterly convincing – 5 stars. —New Books (UK)

The debut novel from Pushcart Prize-nominee, Henderson, UP FROM THE BLUE unfolds against the backdrop of 1970s America—a tumultuous era of desegregation, school busing and the early rise of modern-day feminism. The story of an imaginative young girl struggling to make sense of her mother’s mysterious disappearance, the book delves into the complexity of family relationships. —Peabody Reflector, Vanderbilt University

UP FROM THE BLUE is a page-turner that will keep you up reading until 2 a.m. to find out what happens next. —The Erie Times

Rapturous prose…. A triumphant debut. —Library Journal

This is a story of the love between a mother and her daughter, of resilience and forgiveness. A story you will want to remember and talk about long after you finish the book. —Sacramento Book Review

In the throes of delivering her first child, Tillie speaks across the years to her mother: “It wasn’t perfect, but I never needed perfect.” I hope that UP FROM THE BLUE reaches as wide an audience (including book clubs) as The Glass Castle and The Stone Carvers. —Chuck Erion, The Waterloo Region Record, Ontario, Canada

The book takes the reader on an emotional roller coaster ride, but has more than one surprise hidden away in that old mansion. An even greater surprise is in the final wrap-up. —Bill Duncan, The News-Review

Susan Henderson’s UP FROM THE BLUE is a wonderful, emotionally draining read from start to finish, telling the story of Tillie, a young girl growing up with a mentally ill mother… well worth the inevitable tears. —Otago Daily Times

Striking, sad, suspenseful. —NewPages

Nothing in this book unfolds quite the way you would predict — but what you read will haunt you. And it will be the kind of book you want to talk about once it’s done. This is one of the strongest debut novels that I have read. …Don’t miss this brilliant paperback original that people are sure to be talking about. —BookReporter.com, “Bets On” pick

Everything you want in a novel: gorgeous prose, well-drawn and fascinating characters, rich detail, assured voice, and, above all, a gripping story that will continue to haunt you long after you’ve finished reading. —TNB, Best Books of 2010

Haunting and unsettling, UP FROM THE BLUE’s real alchemy is the way it uncovers the stories that alternately save us and keep us from our real truths. Incandescently written, this is a stunning debut with heart. —Caroline Leavitt, author of PICTURES OF YOU

Rarely is a book so implicitly about love as in Susan Henderson’s debut novel, UP FROM THE BLUE, yet it lacks a single torrid affair, romantic encounter in the park, or obligatory happily-ever-after. In the spirit of Aryn Kyle (The God of Animals) and Haven Kimmel (The Solace of Leaving Early), Henderson exposes large issues to small bodies. UP FROM THE BLUE examines maternal and filial love, studying a family under duress—a compassionate and lasting portrait of depression, mother-daughter relationships, and the lessons parents teach by example.—Adrienne Crezo

This is a compelling novel on many levels. The author is able to invoke strong emotions in the reader. —TribLocal, Vernon Hills

Beautiful yet sad, funny yet unsettling, this is ultimately a story of hope and grace. —Seattle Woman Magazine

A beautifully written, compelling tale that is not to be missed. —Long Island Woman Magazine

This is a book that haunts you long after you turn the last page. The accuracy with which Henderson portrays a child’s vulnerability not only makes you ache, it reminds you how beautiful and terrifying it is to be young. —The Globe and Mail

Tillie’s wild imaginings about what happened to her mother are replaced by an even stranger truth. She comes to realize that her parents are neither good nor bad, but profoundly flawed, if well-intentioned, individuals. —The New York Times

Henderson captures the childhood of Tillie in an unforgettable story of longing and letting go, a time of social change, and the mysteries of mothers and daughters. Will definitely be on the lookout for her next book. —Jo-Ann Mapson, author of SOLOMON’S OAK

Henderson shows remarkable compassion in her debut novel… —BookList

Inescapable sadness is threaded through with surprising moments of joy, in an intimate story that dispels the usual notions of victims and oppressors. —The Columbus Dispatch

UP FROM THE BLUE is Susan Henderson’s haunting debut novel, a complex and surprising family drama set in the turbulent 1970s. Filled with unforgettable characters and Henderson’s elegant, gorgeous prose, the book is fast-paced and impossible to put down. —LargeHearted Boy

Susan Henderson has gifted readers with a poignant story of family, resilience and hope as we accompany Tillie on an emotional journey, which takes her to both the possibility of forgiveness and a future not determined by the bonds of her past. —BookBrowse

This should be marketed for adults as well. It feels like the type of book that will soar by word of mouth from those who have read this until it hits the NYTimes bestseller list. It was an incredibly haunting, tender story told from the perspective of an 8 year old who despite living with a mother psychiatrically unhinged from the world continues to believe in and hold on to this desperate bond between mother and child. When I finished it, I emailed all my book buddies to run and pick up a copy. Don’t let this one go under the radar! —MainlineBooker

Susan Henderson masterfully weaves a story where family can both indelibly wound, and yet also redeem. Heartbreaking, compelling—ultimately beautiful. —Samantha Dunn, author of FAITH IN CARLOS GOMEZ

Brilliant! UP FROM THE BLUE felt like a gorgeous gift to my heart. Susan Henderson has a genius for exposing the exquisite flaws and beautiful frailties of her characters with such tenderness the reader can’t help but be uplifted. Yes, it’s that sublime. I fell in love with Tillie, I fell in love with this book. You will, too. —Ellen Meister, author of THE OTHER LIFE

In UP FROM THE BLUE Susan Henderson delivers a compelling, deeply felt tale about the complexities of family life. You’ll fall in love with young Tillie Harris, whose attempts to navigate her parents’ unruly world are portrayed with genuine warmth and tenderness. —Michelle Richmond, New York Times bestselling author of THE YEAR OF FOG

A haunting tale of the terrible ways in which we fail each other; of the whys, the what ifs, and the what nows. This is not a book you’ll soon forget. —Sara Gruen, New York Times bestselling author of WATER FOR ELEPHANTS

Through her gorgeous, perceptive debut, Susan Henderson reveals the truth–a family’s effort to hide its secrets and shame will break a child’s heart. UP FROM THE BLUE is an unflinching, emotionally honest novel, one of the most insightful stories I’ve ever read. —Ronlyn Domingue, author of THE MERCY OF THIN AIR

A remarkable debut, not just for the uncanny accuracy and charm of eight-year-old Tillie’s narrative voice, but for the way the characters reveal unexpected angles of themselves that make them somehow realer than real. UP FROM THE BLUE lingers in the mind. Susan Henderson shows herself to be a writer of great skill and subtlety. —Mark Childress, author of CRAZY IN ALABAMA and GEORGIA BOTTOMS

UP FROM THE BLUE is a beautiful, haunting, spirited debut, charged with secrets and deep longing. Susan Henderson has written a moving love story, a portrait of that deep lasting love between mother and daughter. —Julianna Baggott, author of THE MADAM and WHICH BRINGS ME TO YOU

UP FROM THE BLUE is a heart-wrenching, tender story with a mystery that kept my pulse racing. What a joy to discover Tillie Harris, the most memorable, charming and plucky narrator in fiction since Scout Finch. —Jessica Anya Blau, author of Today Show pick, THE SUMMER OF NAKED SWIM PARTIES

UP FROM THE BLUE is elegant and engrossing. Like a modern-day Scout, Henderson’s child narrator Tillie Harris is both tender and tough, charming and filled with wonder by the difficulties she must overcome. Henderson is a talent to watch. —Danielle Trussoni, author of ANGELOLOGY and FALLING THROUGH THE EARTH

In this extraordinary first novel, a young girl forced to live within the regimented world of her military father discovers the darkness behind his austere existence. Her secret, nighttime life, spent inside a basement chamber straight out of Jung, conjures the no-man’s-land between madness and sanity. With its authentic and startling imagery, Henderson’s story glimpses the darkness of the heart as well as the rays of light that manage to shine through. —Kim Ponders, author of THE ART OF UNCONTROLLED FLIGHT and THE LAST BLUE MILE

A luminous debut. Henderson explores the emotional tremors of a troubled military family in a story layered with shock, revelation–and hope. —Dylan Landis, author of NORMAL PEOPLE DON’T LIVE LIKE THIS

UP FROM THE BLUE is a bejeweled tale of mother and daughter, longing and understanding, all ripe with the antics of a brilliantly imagined girl named Tillie. Dark and sweet like a wild cherry Lifesaver, Henderson’s prose makes our hearts pucker, while enchanting our minds long after the story is done. —Amy Wallen, Los Angeles Times bestselling author of MOONPIES AND MOVIE STARS

Tillie Harris, Susan Henderson’s courageous young heroine, is vibrant and true. Her voice fills the pages of UP FROM THE BLUE with a bittersweet song of innocence and longing as she navigates her way through her perilous life—a life dominated by her mother’s desperate unhappiness and her father’s frustrations. I wanted to hold Tillie tight then release her with a smile, so I could watch her set the world on fire with her hard-won wisdom and sparkling energy. —Laura Benedict, author of ISABELLA MOON and CALLING MR. LONELY HEARTS

Here, finally, is a contemporary writer willing to embrace the pathos, the ache, the hunger of human life in fiction that’s luminous and moving and transformative. In the character of Tillie, Susan Henderson pursues the shadows of childhood without allowing herself to be obliterated by the potential, there, for darkness; her fictional creations are beautifully flawed and hence gorgeously human. For me, Susan Henderson is one of the most important writers to come along since Carson McCullers. Like McCullers, she turns her eye upon the sadness, the poignancy, and the grotesqueries of our world, evokes them with a keen and unswerving vision that is tempered only by understanding and love. A remarkable writer…and a brilliant one. —Terri Brown-Davidson, assistant editor at Zoetrope: All-Story and author of MARIE, MARIE, HOLD ON TIGHT

Using perfect prose as a weapon, Sue Henderson’s UP FROM THE BLUE burrows into you, so that if you put the book down, you will soon feel compelled to pick it back up, and when you have read the final word, you realize that you will carry this story with you for the foreseeable future. —John Warner, editor of McSweeney’s Internet Tendency

I would love to be able to talk about Susan Henderson’s book, UP FROM THE BLUE, without using the word “awesome.” But the truth is, I can’t do it. I’m in awe of the big-hearted love of a daughter for her mother. I’m in awe of the all-too-human Tillie with her brilliant imperfections, with her truth-telling, with her outrageous simplicity. I’m in awe of the breadth and scope of this book. I’m in awe of how Susan Henderson makes it seem as if there’s nothing small in the world. I know you’ll agree. UP FROM THE BLUE is no less than awesome. —Terry Bain, O. Henry award-winner and author of YOU ARE A DOG: LIFE THROUGH THE EYES OF MAN’S BEST FRIEND

Susan Henderson deftly conjures that surreal kingdom known as childhood, a realm teeming with tactile mysteries, hourly epiphanies and ineffable longing. Tillie is as brave and winning a narrator as we could wish for, caught in a painful intimacy with her disturbed mother, but also embarking on the necessary adventure of defiance. UP FROM THE BLUE is a wonderful book, always evocative and often funny, fashioned with a delicate touch and a riddler’s humor. —M. Allen Cunningham, author of THE GREEN AGE OF ASHER WITHEROW

Susan Henderson writes with the sort of honesty, clarity, and attention to detail that makes you forget for a moment that you are reading fiction or even reading at all. It is a sign of the greatest level of art: to erase the artifice that separates the reader from the experience. The stories in this book do this with admirable skill, creating a world of vivid sadness and beauty. —Grant Bailie, author of CLOUD 8

In luminous, economical prose, Susan Henderson tells the story of Tillie, a lonely child in a family of loners, doing her best to please her high-ranking Pentagon scientist father, her literary, unstable mother and her scornful older brother, all of whom have secrets she wants only to understand. She grows before our eyes in deft, layered chapters that are at once painful and funny. Neglected and demanded too much of, eager to please and rebellious in equal measure, Tillie embodies the very spirit of late twentieth-century America, and we can’t help but love her. Indeed, Henderson’s greatest gift to the reader—and there are many— is the evidence that love, though it surely does not conquer all, makes forgiveness possible and hope inevitable. —Maryanne Stahl, author of FORGIVE THE MOON and THE OPPOSITE SHORE