Just like last year, there was little or no debate between us booksellers about which book was our favorite. It is the only book we all read. It's the one we couldn't stop talking about. It was the one we cared so passionately about we just became evangelists. Anatomy of a Miracle is a big-hearted American novel full of memorable characters whose lives moved us to gut-busting guffaws and big, ugly-cry tears.
Hands down. No joke. This was the one for us. If you somehow missed this book (and I'm not sure how you wouldn't know about this book if you had been anywhere near the store or our social media feeds), check it out now.
Here we are celebrating Jonny and his wonderful book!
And then some other people thought the book was pretty good too....but we were first.
Praise for Anatomy of a Miracle
"Funny, bighearted...Miles specializes in giving fully rounded humanity to characters who might elsewhere be treated as stock figures...pitch-perfect."
-- New York Times Book Review
"Jonathan Miles's masterful new novel Anatomy of a Miracle documents the slo-mo explosion of an attention-grabbing event with trompe l'oeil flourishes...Miles is a writer so virtuosic that readers will feel themselves becoming better, more observant people from reading him... Part of why Anatomy feels so expansive is that Miles takes every opportunity to delve into the characters' backstories... but this keen interest in people is part and parcel of a book in which the author describes humans as 'extraordinary' at least three times. In Miles's world, everyone -- not just the people shouting loudest on the internet -- is worthy of attention."
-- Los Angeles Review of Books
"The impossible happens in... Jonathan Miles's latest novel, Anatomy of a Miracle. But it's what occurs before the astonishing event and what unspools after that will break open hearts and imaginations... Miles's powerful prose nudges readers to seek the soft spots between faith and judgment, story and science, and fact and fiction."
-- CJ Lotz, Garden & Gun
" Anatomy of a Miracle by Jonathan Miles is a novel that reads like a true story. It's about a US veteran whose paralysis from the War in Afghanistan is miraculously cured. Cue a media frenzy and you finishing this story in days."
"Brilliant, moving, suspenseful, funny, rich, and humane....by far his best work. It's a robust and powerful story about humanity, hope, loss, and courage. And LOVE. Cannot recommend it highly enough, truly!"
--Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love and Big Magic, on Instagram
"Heartbreaking and laugh-out-loud funny."
-- Books Inc, in the San Francisco Chronicle
"[ Anatomy of a Miracle] is a remarkable combination of medical mystery, satire and war story. Like Ben Fountain's Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk, it captures the long-lasting effects of war by focusing on those for whom war is only a tangential thing somewhere far away."
-- Shelf Awareness
"Jonathan Miles' smart exploration of everything from the excesses of American popular culture to the deepest aspects of religious belief roars to life... A vivid portrait of our need to believe and its unintended consequences... Anatomy of a Miracle is a thoughtful modern morality play that's as current as the latest internet meme and as timeless as the foundations of faith"
"Miles possesses a rare and admirable command of structure and style, shifting smoothly from Afghan patrol tactics to Catholic doctrine to neurological science; his sentences are thick with data, wittily delivered. ... An expertly shaped tale about faith in collision with contemporary American culture."
-- Kirkus (starred review)
"Vibrant, bustling, and humorous... Cleverly shaped as a journalistic report, and told in a style similar to that of John Jeremiah Sullivan and Ron Currie, Miles' tale offers a nuanced and endlessly entertaining exploration of the age-old debate between faith and reason."
"With sincerity and wit, Miles pens a strong, sardonic rumination on the religious boundaries of the miraculous."
-- Library Journal
-- Publishers Weekly
"Jonathan Miles has written a novel whose comic moments alone make it a wonderful read, but Anatomy of a Miracle quickly becomes so much more: an intense, and intensely profound, meditation on how an extraordinary event might test the limits of both scientific and religious belief. What a superb writer; what a superb book."
--RON RASH, New York Times bestselling author of Serena and Above the Waterfall
A Sarah Jessica Parker Book Club Pick
A profound new novel about a paralyzed young man's unexplainable recovery--a stunning exploration of faith, science, mystery, and the meaning of life
Rendered paraplegic after a traumatic event four years ago, Cameron Harris has been living his new existence alongside his sister, Tanya, in their battered Biloxi, Mississippi neighborhood where only half the houses made it through Katrina. One stiflingly hot August afternoon, as Cameron sits waiting for Tanya during their daily run to the Biz-E-Bee convenience store, he suddenly and inexplicably rises up and out of his wheelchair.
In the aftermath of this "miracle," Cameron finds himself a celebrity at the center of a contentious debate about what's taken place. And when scientists, journalists, and a Vatican investigator start digging, Cameron's deepest secrets--the key to his injury, to his identity, and, in some eyes, to the nature of his recovery--become increasingly endangered. Was Cameron's recovery a genuine miracle, or a medical breakthrough? And, finding himself transformed into a symbol, how can he hope to retain his humanity?
Brilliantly written as closely observed journalistic reportage and filtered through a wide lens that encompasses the vibrant characters affected by Cameron's story, Anatomy of a Miracle will be read, championed, and celebrated as a powerful story of our time, and the work of a true literary master.
JONATHAN MILES is the author of the novels Dear American Airlines and Want Not, both New York Times Notable Books. He is a former columnist for the New York Times, has served as a Contributing Editor to magazines ranging from Details to Field & Stream, and his journalism has been frequently anthologized in Best American Sports Writing and Best American Crime Writing. He is also the author of a book on fish and game cookery, The Wild Chef, and competed in the Dakar Rally, an off-road race through Africa.