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Summary

“Ms. Haigh is an expertly nuanced storyteller long overdue for major attention. Her work is gripping, real, and totally immersive, akin to that of writers as different as Richard Price, Richard Ford, and Richard Russo.” (Janet Maslin, New York Times)

The highly anticipated new novel by acclaimed New York Times best-selling author Jennifer Haigh—“a gifted chronicler of the human condition” (Washington Post Book World)—is a tense, riveting story about the disparate lives that intersect at a woman’s clinic 

For almost a decade, Claudia has counseled patients at Mercy Street, a clinic in the heart of the city. The work is consuming, the unending dramas of women in crisis. For its patients, Mercy Street offers more than health care; for many, it is a second chance.

But outside the clinic, the reality is different. Anonymous threats are frequent. A small, determined group of anti-abortion demonstrators appears each morning at its door. As the protests intensify, fear creeps into Claudia’s days, a humming anxiety she manages with frequent visits to Timmy, an affable pot dealer in the midst of his own existential crisis. At Timmy’s, she encounters a random assortment of customers, including Anthony, a lost soul who spends most of his life online, chatting with the mysterious Excelsior11—the screenname of Victor Prine, an anti-abortion crusader who has set his sights on Mercy Street and is ready to risk it all to protect the unborn.

Mercy Street is a novel for right now, a story of the polarized American present. Jennifer Haigh, “an expert natural storyteller with a keen sense of her characters’ humanity” (New York Times), has written a groundbreaking novel, a fearless examination of one of the most divisive issues of our time.

©2022 Jennifer Haigh (P)2022 HarperCollins Publishers

What listeners say about Mercy Street

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Profile Image for Shawna Taylor
  • Shawna Taylor
  • 05-03-22

Unbearable

I tried, I really did. I listened for almost 4 hours. It is the most disjointed story I’ve ever hear or read. And being an OB/GYN nurse, I was surprised that the author didn’t do her research and threw out so many inaccurate medical facts, I couldn’t keep up with them all. Also, her editor was asleep on the job. In one part of the story, a character is getting a tattoo and answers his phone. When he hangs up from that conversation he’s in his living room smoking dope. ? There were several more scenarios like that. I wish I hadn’t wasted a credit on this train wreck.

3 people found this helpful

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Profile Image for Wendy
  • Wendy
  • 12-04-22

Really?

I'm surprised this passed the editors.... what could have been a great story about a women's health clinic in these days that Roe V Wade is in jeopardy, this book totally missed the point. Instead of compelling stories, this disintegrates quickly into a weed-induced maze of side stories that really are not even pertinent. Anti-abortionists, drug dealers, bizarre personalities reduce the story to a mishmash of confusion and just a bunch of uninteresting people making bad decisions. Pass this one up. I am returning it.

2 people found this helpful

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Profile Image for Rhonda Morrison
  • Rhonda Morrison
  • 26-02-22

Great story, compelling characters

I truly loved this book. The themes of reproductive health and choice along with a very human protagonist made me sad when the story was over. Very timely..recommend!!

2 people found this helpful

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  • gail
  • 29-04-22

Be sure to finish

Listening, you will spend time with characters you won’t feel comfortable about - a white racist antiabortionist, a marijuana dealer, a disabled worker who clings to the structure of his neighborhood parish - all of whom have a connection to Claudia, who is an intake worker at Mercy Street clinic. Stick with it though because she knits the separate tracks into a believable thoughtful portrait of invisible people in post Trump America.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Mumofthree
  • 15-03-22

disappointing...

a pleasant narration of a story that goes absolutely nowhere... not sure why I listened to the end.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Karen Starr
  • 03-03-22

Way too long

I listened to the whole thing. Not great. What did she set out to say, I wonder. If it was that life is hard for women, she had nothing new to say about this sad, well-known fact of life.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 01-03-22

Lots of America here

(Spoiler alert) The intersection of the lives of such modern American characters with their varied upbringings, struggles, and opinions, set against an ugly Boston winter… I was expecting a catastrophic intersection that (happily) didn’t happen. Because the author lays out the characters but doesn’t judge, it would be a great one for a book group discussion of what I would call “American sinkholes.”

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  • Anthony P. Mcarthur
  • 10-05-22

Good stuff.

GReat writing. Vivid characters. Recommend this wonderful talent. also the reader is totally excellent

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  • ROJ
  • 04-03-22

Interesting Characters

Subject matter uncomfortable but all points of view are fascinating and insightful. It seemed like there could have been a horrible culmination of events but instead each character found their own just reward.

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Profile Image for Jeannie M.
  • Jeannie M.
  • 19-02-22

Just amazing

Every novel she’s written is better than the last. A perfect novel for this time.