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Before Everything​

  • A buzz book 2017 summer highly anticipated book 

  • A 2017 library journal top literary fiction June preview

  • A Booklist starred review

  • A BBC culture 10 Books to Read in June

  • Translated and published in 8 countries

Before Everything is a celebration of friendship and love between a group of women who have known each other since they were girls. They’ve faced everything together, from youthful sprees and scrapes to mid-life turning points. Now, as Anna, the group’s trailblazer and brightest spark, enters hospice, they gather to do what they’ve always done—talk and laugh and help each other make choices and plans, this time in Anna’s rural home. Helen, Anna’s best friend and a celebrated painter, is about to remarry. The others face their own challenges—Caroline with her sister’s mental health crisis; Molly with a teenage daughter’s rebellion; Ming with her law practice—dilemmas with kids and work and love.

Before Everything is as funny as it is bittersweet, as the friends revel in the hilarious mistakes they’ve seen one another through, the secrets kept, and adventures shared. But now all sense of time has shifted, and the pattern of their lives together takes on new meaning. The novel offers a brilliant, emotionally charged portrait, deftly conveying the sweep of time over everyday lives, and showing how even in difficult endings, gifts can unfold. Above all it is an ode to friendship, and to how one person shapes the journeys of those around her.


 “Gorgeous, a heartbreaker, a non-stop dazzler, a major achievement. Thank you, Victoria Redel.”


“Redels new novel brings to mind Virginia Woolfs The Waves.”


Before Everything  is, well, everything you want a novel about life, death, and friendship to be—smart, moving, sweeping, poetic, stinging, just beautiful. I loved these women (and their men) and this elegy to their long-reaching bonds.”



“Redel has always been a fantastic prose writer, someone whose books I go to as much for the sentences as for her excellent stories. Before Everything is not just beautifully written but also intensely moving.”


“Before Everything turns on the grand themes, love and death—love among five women, “the old friends,” and the death of one of them. Redel’s elegant narration unfolds not in linear time but in the time of memory, moving among the friends to reveal their shifting connections, needs, and circumstances. At once tough and tender, funny and sad, this beautifully written novel articulates the dynamic realities of those wondrous friendships that last a lifetime.”



“One of the most powerful tales of complex ever-evolving female friendship there is. . . . Everything Redel writes is brilliant but this is my favorite work by her.”




“I admire Victoria Redel’s work for so many reasons—for its fearlessness, its complexity, its beauty—and Before Everything is one of the most brilliant, radiant and heartbreaking books I’ve read in years. Redel’s characters—fierce and funny, loyal and compassionate—feel as real and beloved as the people we hold dearest in our own lives. An extraordinary novel by one of the best writers we have.”





“Victoria Redel bears witness to a remarkable group of women, effortlessly weaving back and forth through time, each thread revealing the cracks and secrets of their complex lives, while also drawing them closer… Redel proves that female friendship is the quiet, steady engine that truly runs the world.”





“Before Everything is a riveting, timely story that explores the unsettlingly beautiful, emotionally charged landscape that is revealed when old friends embrace what they have never before admitted: the limits of mortality and the boundlessness of friendship.”



“A gentle, rich tale of friendship and loss… Before Everything creates a tight, vivid world.”



“Redel’s novel about longtime friends who come together to care for one of their own—and relive a lifetime of memories—proves why ‘before everything’ is where we ought to place friendship on the roster of the most soul-satisfying things.”



“A touching story of friendship and loss… richly realized. The result is an unflinching and affecting look at how one woman’s final days change the lives of those around her.”


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