Narrated with warmth and intelligence, ‘The Used World’ is the third novel from the bestselling author of ‘The Solace of Leaving Early’ and explores the interconnected lives of three women who work in an antiques emporium in Indiana
Hazel Hunnicutt is the proprietor of The Used World Emporium, a cavernous antiques store filled with the cast-offs of countless lives in the town of Jonah, Indiana. Knowing, witty and often infuriatingly stubborn, Hazel has lived in the town her whole life, daughter of the local doctor, and is keeper of many of its secrets. Working with her in the store are Claudia, a solitary soul since the death of her beloved parents and, at over 6 feet, an oddity to all who see her; and Rebekah, a young woman forced to leave the suffocating Christian sect she was born into, but adrift in the outside world.
It is shortly before Christmas and the lives of these three women are about to change irrevocably: for Claudia, who has hidden away from life since the death of her mother, a new arrival – which comes to her in the most unexpected of ways – will give her a second chance at happiness and a family to replace the one she has lost. Meanwhile Rebekah, abandoned by her feckless first boyfriend, must face up to an unplanned pregnancy and exile from her family home. Watching over Claudia and Rebekah is Hazel, whose own story of lost love is revealed in flashbacks. As their lives intertwine in ways they could never have imagined, and a dark chapter of history is revealed, the three women are forced to confront their pasts and face up to the future as this gripping and heart-warming novel reaches its dramatic climax.
Peopled with a delightfully idiosynchratic cast of characters and with a love story at its centre, ‘The Used World’ is a beautifully written and brilliantly told story, in the tradition of Fannie Flagg, Garrison Keillor and Ann Patchett.
Reviews of The Used World
- ‘Kimmel writes with an Anne Tyler-like wryness.’ Observer
- ‘Arresting. She is a writer who understands that thinking and feeling are not mutually exclusive, and that people can do both at once.’ Sunday Telegraph
- ‘Kimmel’s writing makes us care for her characters – their intricate histories and unexpected connections.’ Daily Telegraph
- ‘A sweetly compelling tale of quiet, everyday happiness.’ Daily Mail
- ‘An amazing, humorous overview of small town life. Kimmel credits the reader with intelligence, making the novel a finely measured read with mesmerizing, original characters. Ultimately, this is a love story, but the most subtle, original one I have read for years.’ Irish Examiner
- ‘Kimmel’s books are blessed with strong characters, beautiful writing, and a refusal to tie up neatly all the loose ends.’ Sunday Business Post