Praise for Pamela Thompson


  Every Past Thing


A dazzling first novel… there is nothing conventional about Thompson’s deeply imagined narrative…. a beautiful and mysterious story of grief and love, age and youth, politics and privacy. Nothing is simple and everything is radiant.
—Margot Livesey, in Ploughshares


A novel to be savored.


Every Past Thing shares with Emily Barton’s Brookland a perfectly surehanded sense of place and time, and with Marilynne Robinson’s Housekeeping a precise, unsentimental evocation of our deepest loves and family bonds. I’ve not been so moved by a novel in years; it seems to me truly stunning.
—Andrea Barrett


In Thompson’s prose, attuned to every nuance of understated emotion, there is both power and wisdom—about family, life and death, grief, women longing for and demanding purpose and position, the ability of art to express, but also the pain of the unexpressed.
Susan Vreeland


Every Past Thing is at once devastating and hope-filled in its honesty. Near the end of the book, Mary writes in her journal, “what fate had done, this: taken me in hand and slipped in the tip of a knife, matter-of-factly turning its point, deep inside my flesh, as if excising the eye of a potato.” She adds: “From the eye of the potato grow new shoots. And in the same eye, Time whispers: Come, rot.” Thompson’s novel is an anthem to mortality. Her characters look life, death, and love in the eye, demanding answers to life’s great existential questions.
—Georgia Douillet, The Women’s Times


Skillfully articulated… stunningly vivid… a beautiful reminder to the reader of life’s sacred intricacies… A perfect novel to sink into for these chilly winter months, Every Past Thing will be relished by anyone searching for a beautiful, semi-scandalous, and slightly seductive escape.
—A. Mariel Westermeyer, Feminist Review


Thompson writes ... beautifully and with lucid assurance.
—Robert Birnbaum, The Morning News


The novel’s vision is not dark; it is true. It is of New England: its harsh, deadly frosts and its glorious beauty… [T]he voice of each character endures long after the book has finished, lent the immortality history grants to such as Emerson—grants only so meanly, so many voices lost. The novel exposes the small beauties of the every day (a line from a book, a story exchanged, the shining yolk of an egg, broken); it knows—and how many years to have learned such a vision?—to see them as they are, ephemeral, chased by loss, just enough to console.
—Hilary Plum


The artist Edwin Romanzo Elmer died unacclaimed, but one of his paintings, born of tragedy, has been a literary inspiration... [more]
—Jan Gardner, Boston Globe


Every Past Thing is a lovely, intricate tale about the gentle yet emotional collision of past and present. The voice reminds one of a glittering chandelier as the author arranges the many facets of the lives of these historical figures from the 19th century, while relating the events of just one week. Sprinkled with lines from Emerson and dense with atmosphere and reflection, I found this novel entirely absorbing and would recommend it to any thinking reader.
Karen Frank, Northshire Books


Intellectual and social history come alive in Every Past Thing… a fascinating tale about how hearts survive.
—Irmarie Jones, Greenfield Recorder


A revelation in contemporary fiction. [more]
—Samantha Goldstein


Thompson is often at her best when treating Edwin Elmer… She renders the conflicted, complicated relationship between Edwin, reclusive artist, and his rakish elder brother Samuel skillfully… Edwin’s anxieties about his talents are achingly relatable and allusive (Thompson evokes Woolf’s Mr. Ramsay and Lily Briscoe, Eliot’s Casaubon and others from the tradition of novels about the perils of fine arts).
—Sarah Feldberg, Valley Advocate