The Grace of the Ginkgo is an amazing read from first-time novelist, Michael R. Hardesty. I could not put it down! The story is compelling, but it’s the writing style that enraptures you. I felt as though I was right there in the story. You know the feeling…when you don’t want a book to end because you feel like a part of you will end with it.
The story begins with David Foley, a lonely, divorced businessman, who is devastated when his only son dies at the hands of a terrorist in Saudi Arabia during the Gulf War. Only the contemplation of the imminent birth of his grandchild rallies him from a debilitating depression. David sells his successful Boston business, leaves New England, and moved to Louisville, KY to be near his son’s pregnant widow and await the birth of his granddaughter, Liesl.
Like many grandparents today, he becomes a parent for the second time and raises his now-orphaned granddaughter. Frequently David juggles the responsibilities of parenting better than he handles his aging body and his social and sexual needs. Somehow he surrounds himself with an all-star cast of friends and family for support.
As David flits between crudity and gentility, the story itself seamlessly conveys the reader between humor and poignancy, hope and despair, performing arts and violence. David’s final two dramatic acts beg the questions: were these noble and courageous deeds, or evil and cowardly actions. Is this a man of probity, sometimes failing his own standards, or is he an immoralist, wrapping himself in a mantle of culture?
But don’t just take my word for it….here are comments from other reviewers.
This is a story that will make you glad to be alive. It is sweet, loving and just plain entertaining. It is filled with laughs, tears and suspense. What more could one ask for in a book? It is everything a good story should be. I highly recommend it.More praise from Amazon readers…The writing is beautiful, and the novel will grab you from the first sentence and keep you turning the pages. You will fall in love with David Foley. You will share his joy and tears as Liesl becomes his reason for living.
Hardesty presents the reader with an all-too-human protagonist in this moving narrative about beating one’s past, understanding one’s present, and confronting one’s place in the universe. Hardesty guides the reader with a deft hand through David Foley’s raging internal battles waged between his coarseness and his urbanity, his temper and his equanimity, his Catholic upbringing and his professed atheism.
The ending will leave you in tears, but happy for the experience of having read this inspiring debut novel, which is filled with love!
This book is definitely a five-star read.
About the Author – Michael R. Hardesty
The Grace of the Ginkgo” is Michael R. Hardesty’s first novel. He is a graduate of the University of Louisville and Stanford University’s Certificate of Writing Program in long fiction. Hardesty is retired from his marketing communications firm, Black & White, and lives in Louisville, KY where his favorite activity is hobnobbing with his three grandchildren.