Among the Lesser Gods: A Novel

Among the Lesser Gods: A Novel

by Margo Catts


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For fans of authors like Barbara Kingsolver and Leif Enger, a stunning new voice in contemporary literary fiction.

"Tragedy and blessing. Leave them alone long enough, and it gets real hard to tell them apart."

Elena Alvarez is living a cursed life. From the deadly fire she accidentally set as a child, to her mother's abandonment, and now to an unwanted pregnancy, she knows better than most that small actions can have terrible consequences. Driven to the high mountains surrounding Leadville, Colorado by her latest bad decision, she's intent on putting off the future. Perhaps there she can just hide in her grandmother's isolated cabin and wait for something–anything–to make her next choice for her.

But instead of escape, she finds reminders of her own troubles reflected from every side–the recent widower and his two children adrift in a changed world, Elena's own mysterious family history, and the interwoven lives within the town itself. Bit by bit, Elena begins to reconsider her role in the tragedies she's held on to and the wounds she's refused to let heal.

But then, in a single afternoon, when threads of cause and effect tangle, Elena's fragile new peace is torn apart. It's only at the prospect of fresh loss and blame that she will discover the truth of the terrible burdens we take upon ourselves, the way tragedy and redemption are inevitably bound together–and how curses can sometimes lead to blessings, however disguised.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781628727395
Publisher: Arcade
Publication date: 05/09/2017
Pages: 336
Sales rank: 786,347
Product dimensions: 6.20(w) x 8.40(h) x 1.30(d)

About the Author

Margo Catts grew up in Los Angeles and has since lived in Utah, Indiana, and Colorado. After raising three children in the U.S., she and her husband moved to Saudi Arabia, where her Foreign Girl blog was well known in the expat community. Originally a freelance editor for textbooks and magazines, she has also done freelance writing for business, technical, and advertising clients, all the while working on her fiction. She is a contributing author to Once Upon an Expat. Among the Lesser Gods is her first novel. She currently lives in Houston, Texas.

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

Praise for Margo Catts's Among the Lesser Gods:

"If Anne Tyler turned her attention to the inter-generational intrigue of small town Colorado, it might look something like Margo Catts's arresting debut. Drenched in lyrical language and blade's edge observation with a heartbreaking secret at its core, Among the Lesser Gods is an essential American love story for our nomadic, unrooted times." — Carrie La Seur, author of The Home Place

"Margo Catts's compassionate observation of human nature shines through in her unforgettable characters, as she immerses the reader in lives that are torn by tragedy, challenged, and changed. This is a finely crafted and uplifting novel full of warmth, wisdom, and generosity of spirit." — Judith Allnatt, author of The Silk Road

"I didn't want the story to end, even as I was desperate to know what would happen next." — Tiffany Quay Tyson, author of Three Rivers

"Margo Catts has a sharp eye for the intricacies of family, love, and tragedy. In luminous prose, she deftly explores the impact of the past upon our lives. This is a heartfelt book that will break your heart at times and at others fill you with joy." — Daniel Robinson, author of After the Fire

"Smart, unsettling, and meticulously composed, Margot Catts’s debut novel affirms the power of narrative to redeem . . . The assaults of the past on the present, of badly buried guilt that keeps one from knowing how to live; the ways in which ordinary wisdom proceeds from the shadow of tragedy; the essentiality of family and community to all manner of healing – these are just a handful of the themes weaving through this unforgettable tale of accidental salvation." — Lynn Stegner, author of For All the Obvious Reasons

"In Among the Lesser Gods, Margo Catts writes with grace and insight about the deep wounds of childhood and how the mistakes we made as kids can haunt us as adults. With vivid, complex characters and seamless prose, Catts takes us on a journey into the dark heart of guilt and the discovery of redemption. The layers of this novel kept me greedily delving in until the last page." — Heather Skyler, author of Vegas Girls

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Among the Lesser Gods: A Novel 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 7 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Bought Margot Catts' novel on a whim because it sounded good. It is. Catts portrays rural, small-town life with warmth, but does not sugar coat it or weigh thevstory done with back story. A very good read!
Anonymous 9 months ago
This author is a natural storyteller. She weaved a wonderful and sad tale about guilt and forgiving ones self of past mistakes and the importance of love, family and friends. It is an uplifting story with an ultimately happy ending!
Anonymous 8 months ago
Really enjoyed this family - centered story that touched on shame , guilt, and ultimate redemption . There was mystery, painful situations, a little bit of romance...I'd like to think that Elena and Leo end up together in the future.
Anonymous 9 months ago
So much insight to events and personalities. It was hard to put down and I wanted more details on the relationship with Leo . Please write another book about this character.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Honolulubelle More than 1 year ago
Favorite Quotes: Growing up, grains of family history dissolved into my pool of knowledge without me noticing, the same way salt dissolves in water, the same way you can’t remember anyone ever telling you that school starts in the fall. Beauty from ashes, right here. Tragedy and blessing. Leave them alone long enough and it gets real hard to tell them apart. I was kind of a bratty teenager… I know, hard to believe. But when I was sulky my mom used to say that not talking about stuff is like growing mold… Talking airs it out. You still have the stuff, but it keeps it from getting furry and gross. A jumble of scenes crowded into my head like shoppers shoving through the door for a clearance sale. I left the house like a refugee from a natural disaster. The torrent of judgments and absolutes had washed the ground out from underneath me. Fragile ground, apparently, because I’d never had a problem like this before. My Review: Among the Lesser Gods was a thoughtful and moody tale that sucked me down a 70’s era rabbit hole and kept me there. I was fully engaged and fascinated by this odd collection of peculiar, broken, and difficult characters who were separately struggling with their various problems including a default setting of poor choices, family issues, and new and long-term grief. Each major household was at a crossroads with unspoken histories, vexing issues, and limited options. And each had unique yet topical and relatable tribulations. I was captivated, intrigued, and lured into their mysterious quagmires like a magnet to metal. Their limited awareness and incomplete histories slowly came together to coincidentally shine the light on a long-held family mystery that had spiraled into a local myth. I stumbled along with them as they learned hard and painful lessons and surprised themselves by bumbled through their most perplexing issues. Ms. Catt’s writing was engrossing, observantly insightful, emotive, and richly textured with colorful and vivid descriptions that painted complete scenes with her words. Despite the tension and angst, I savored her story from beginning to end.
Myndia More than 1 year ago
Elena is a girl with a past full of problems, and due to her trend of bad decision making, she finds herself in another rough spot, unsure of what to do next. Just in time, her grandmother writes her to come stay with her and help a family that has recently suffered a great tragedy. The children need tending while the father, a trucker, figures out how to find local work before the next school year begins. So off she goes to little Leadville, Colorado. Living with her grandmother, caring for the children, and becoming part of the town, she starts to see her past and her future differently. Maybe she has more choices than she realizes. Maybe she isn’t the only person carrying guilt. Maybe redemption is possible for everyone. Among the Lesser Gods is one of those books that creeps up on you. At first, you aren’t quite sure about it. You’re not really sure if you like Elena, if you can care about her circumstances. But then bit by bit, the story starts to envelop you like a slow-rolling fog. All these tendrils of background story reach out for you one at a time, pulling you in a little at a time until you find yourself completely invested. Or at least, that’s how it went for me. Definitely a thinking book, a book that makes you see things differently, consider other perspectives, reminds you that the world is not as black and white as we’d like it to be. Life is hard, we make bad choices sometimes (all of us!), and we have to do the best we can with the hands we’re dealt. Having love and support, a sense of security, and learning the art of forgiveness – especially forgiveness of self – go a long way in making life a joy instead of a burden. The writing was tremendous and I loved the complexity of the story, as well as the themes. A book I highly recommend. Note: I received this book from the publisher via Edelweiss. I pride myself on writing fair and honest reviews.