Sufficient Grace

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Ruth and her cousin Naomi live in rural Wisconsin, part of an isolated religious community. The girls’ lives are ruled by the rhythms of nature—the harsh winters, the hunting seasons, the harvesting of crops—and by their families’ beliefs. Beneath the surface of this closed, frozen world, hidden dangers lurk. Ruth learns that Naomi harbors a terrible secret: she searches for solace in the mysteries of the natural world, seeking broken fawns, migrating birds, and the strange fish deep beneath the ice. At once devastating and beautiful, and ultimately transcendent, this is a story of lost innocence and the unfailing bond between two young women.


Amy Espeseth is a writer, a publisher, an academic, and the recipient of  several awards, including the 2012 CAL Scribe Fiction Prize and the Queensland University of Technology Postgraduate Creative Writing Prize. She is the author of Mennonite in a Little Black Dress: A Memoir of Going Home.


"Set in a cloistered community of Scandinavian Pentecostals in the icy wilds of Wisconsin, this powerful, elemental novel presents a fully realised world of a family turned in upon itself. It captures the harsh beauty of the unforgiving natural world in prose that is charged with biblical cadences and authority. Attuned to the rhythms of the natural and liturgical cycles, the novel recounts an utterly convincing and heart-rending story of lost innocence and the quest for absolution."  —Victorian Premier's Literary Award Judges 2009

"Sufficient Grace is one of those rare début novels whose narrative progresses through allusion rather than assertion. . . . I am reminded of Cormac McCarthy’s apocalyptic Blood Meridian (1985): its biblical lyricism and themes of violence, power, and sin."  —Australian Book Review

"Espeseth is a gorgeous writer; this book is dense with finely etched imagery, much of it rooted in the natural world."  —Weekend Australian"Divine . . . exquisite. . . . Sufficient Grace is a mighty achievement and is among the year’s must-read literary novels."  —Conrad Walters, Age