Longlisted for the Center for Fiction’s First Novel Prize
“As tender and fervent as a prayer.”—New York Times Book Review
Nicole Hennessy’s world revolves around her Boston Zendo, to the chagrin of her Irish Catholic family. As she struggles to break free from a psychological and sexual entanglement with her mentor, her past finally catches up with her. A spellbinding confession of what it means to abandon one life for another, The Devoted asks what it takes, and what you’ll sacrifice, to find enlightenment.
About the Author
Blair Hurley is a Pushcart Prize winner whose work has been published in West Branch and Mid-American Review, among others. A native of Boston, she now lives in Toronto, where she teaches creative writing at the University of Toronto.
A rich and entertaining novel about a woman, a seeker, whose life, existence and relationships are all centered around a devout Buddhist mediation practice in Boston—until they aren’t. I couldn’t put it down. — Anne Lamott
Provocative.… [A] terrifying but insightful warning not to look for easy answers offered by false prophets.
A belated coming-of-age novel with a quest at its core, The Devoted is an assured and promising debut.
[Hurley's] hand is confident and steady as she layers Zen teachings into the already complicated history of her novel's focal character.… Hurley leaves you thinking and sorting through feelings long after her final page.
With absolutely spot-on descriptions of Boston, this spellbinding story adds much-needed nuance to the discussion of faith and what we’re willing to forsake in the name of absolution.
All lovers of great fiction with complex characters as well as anyone fascinated by narratives about religious cults will want this insightful story.
This thoughtful novel carefully untangles the often knotty interconnection between romantic and religious love, revealing the dangers inherent in each without denying their value.
A thoughtful exploration of faith, surrender, and ecstasy.
The Devoted, Blair Hurley’s stunning literary debut, pushes the boundaries of the traditional coming-of-age novel, offering instead a haunting, provocative tale of self-discovery and transformation in the fallout of exploitation and devastating loss.… Hurley is a gifted author who writes with startling beauty and tenderness, one heightened by a fierce, unwavering clarity.
The Devoted has a tone of genius behind every chapter and a powerful magnetism that is hard to resist.