Spanning from World War II to the present, A Cloud in the Shape of a Girl is the story of three women regressing, stalling, and yes, evolving, over decades. One of the burning questions Jean Thompson asks is: by serving her family, is a woman destined to repeat the mistakes of previous generations, or can she transcend the expectations of a place and a time? Can she truly be free? Evelyn, Laura, and Grace are the glue that binds their family together and, in turn, they are tethered to their small Midwestern town—by choice or chance. Jean Thompson seamlessly weaves together their stories with humanity and elegance.
Jean Thompson‘s many works include the novels The Year We Left Home and the short story collections Throw Like a Girl and Who Do You Love (a National Book Award finalist). Thompson’s short fiction has been published in many magazines and journals, including the New Yorker, and anthologized in The Best American Short Stories and The Pushcart Prize. Thompson has been the recipient of Guggenheim and National Endowment for the Arts fellowships and has taught creative writing at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Reed College, Northwestern University, and other colleges and universities. She lives in Urbana, Illinois. NPR commentator
Beth Finke is an award-winning author and a recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts grant. In her new book Writing Out Loud, she reflects on the joys and challenges of teaching memoir-writing classes to older adults in Chicago and getting around the city with a Seeing Eye dog.