Professor's Debut Novel Earning Rave Reviews from O Magazine, Others

Jensen photo

An Eastern Kentucky University professor’s debut novel is earning rave reviews and being touted as a “must read” by several national magazines.

“The Sisters,” written by Nancy Jensen, associate professor of English at EKU, has been selected by O Magazine as one “10 Titles to Pick Up Now” and is one of four books chosen as “Goodreads” in this month’s Good Housekeeping. Whole Living magazine also includes the novel in its November issue as part of the feature, “Soul Food: Books That Feed.”

A story about the family bonds that remain even when they seem irretrievably torn apart, “The Sisters” has been called a “sprawling saga (that) is tender and satisfying, with a heartbreaking end” by Kirkus and a “beautiful but disturbing debut novel, inspired partly by the author’s own family history, (that) will engage readers of well-written, thought-provoking women’s fiction” by Library Journal.

The reason for the rift in Jensen’s family remains a mystery to her.

“I could not understand, and I could not stop wanting to know, what kind of offense or betrayal could result in one sister’s deciding to erase another, as if she had never existed,” she said of her feelings after learning her grandmother had an estranged sister only after the sister’s death. “My grandmother died without sharing the intricacies of her story, so I knew if I was ever going to have an answer to my question, I’d have to write it myself.”

Jensen, a core faculty member in Eastern’s MFA in Creative Writing program, has had work featured in numerous literary journals and was awarded an Artist Enrichment Grant from the Kentucky Foundation for Women and an Al Smith Fellowship from the Kentucky Arts Council. Her first book, “Window,” is a collection of short stories and essays.

Published on November 02, 2011