A Quiet Life (2022)

by Ethan Joella

A Quiet Life, Ethan Joellaís second novel, features three stories about people struggling with recent loss. They live in the same Pennsylvania town. Septuagenarian Chuck has lost his wife, Cat, to cancer. He canít let go of Catís belongings or decide whether to take their annual trip to Hilton Head alone. Thirtysomething Ella is frantic about her daughter, who has been taken somewhere unknown by Ellaís estranged husband. Ella is working two menial jobs instead of opening a preschool as she planned. Young adult Kirsten mourns her father, killed by gunfire in a gas station robbery. She has put off veterinary school, maybe forever.

Chuck, Ella, and Kirsten gradually regain hope with the help of one another and others. Chuck's neighbor visits him faithfully. Ella's mother-in-law becomes supportive. Kirsten and a coworker fall in love. Especially important are the empathy and kindness the three protagonists show one another as their paths cross. Giving help proves as therapeutic as receiving it. Without minimizing grief or becoming saccharine, A Quiet Life warms our hearts with its message that we can't go it alone.


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