Language Arts (Hardcover)

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Staff Reviews

PAT SAYS:   "A deep, evocative story about fathers & sons, marriage, and mystery. About life pared down to the nitty-gritty, to what's truly important. I love Stevie Kallos' work. I wish everyone could read this book."

— From Pat's June Pick: Language Arts by Stephanie Kallos

July 2015 Indie Next List

“The art of communication is the major theme of this story, and Kallos employs all of its variations - whether spoken nuances and innuendos, written assumptions and dissonance, or the fractured and difficult ways of being known that those with autism experience. This is the story of a marriage, of a father and his son, and of how a man's childhood shapes his life. Readers will be absorbed, challenged, puzzled, and ultimately satisfied by this wise and soulful book.”
— Rachel Watkins (E), Avid Bookshop, Athens, GA


The new novel from the best-selling author of Broken for You spins the stories of a dedicated teacher, his enigmatic son, and a wartime survivor into an affecting tale of love, loss, and handwriting.

Charles Marlow teaches his high school English students that language will expand their worlds. But linguistic precision cannot help him connect with his autistic son, or with his ex-wife, who abandoned their shared life years before, or even with his college-bound daughter who has just flown the nest. He’s at the end of a road he’s traveled on autopilot for years when a series of events forces him to think back on the lifetime of decisions and indecisions that have brought him to this point. With the help of an ambitious art student, an Italian-speaking nun, and the memory of a boy in a white suit who inscribed his childhood with both solace and sorrow, Charles may finally be able to rewrite the script of his life.

Sometimes the most powerful words are the ones you’re still searching for.

About the Author

STEPHANIE KALLOS is the author of Broken for You, which was selected by Sue Monk Kidd for the Today Show Book Club and was a national bestseller, and Sing Them Home, one of Entertainment Weekly's Ten Best Novels of the year. She lives in Seattle with her family.

Praise For…

Washington Book Award Finalist
#2 on Paste Magazine's "30 Best Fiction Books of 2015"
A July 2015 Indie Next Pick

“[A] beautifully written, harrowing novel…[Kallos’s] vivid descriptions create a cast of memorable characters. She also delivers a huge shocker of a plot twist, one that may send you back to the beginning of the book as you wonder how this development could be possible.”—The Seattle Times

"A deeply absorbing, magnificently wrought look inside the stories a man tells himself about life, Language Arts overflows with insight and mesmerizing twists. Even with the remarkably high standard set by Kallos’ two previous novels, she shows no sign of faltering. Improbably enough, she keeps getting better." Steve Nathans-Kelly, Paste Magazine, #2 on "30 Best Fiction Books of 2015"

"Kallos’ earlier novels, Broken for You (2004) and Sing Them Home (2009), have been widely praised, and her third deserves all of those kudos and more. This novel, masterfully plotted and written, is a wondrously beautiful story of love and loss, offering hope in the face of the harshest reality."—Booklist, starred review

“Touchingly humane and impressive in scope…A voluminous novel exploring words and expression, parenting and letting go.”—Kirkus Reviews

"A riveting read...Kallos moves back and forth in time, and among characters, in a story that deftly mixes family drama, neuroscience, mystery and an exploration of the dying art of handwriting that is far more intriguing than it sounds...You're likely to find yourself rereading it at least once to fully absorb what you may have missed the first time around."—Bookpage

“For me, it would be plenty if a novel was deeply felt, utterly absorbing, and full of wit. But in Language Arts, Stephanie Kallos goes further, throwing in a doozy of a twist that had me going back to page one to understand how she pulled off such dazzling sleight of hand. An all-around delight.” — Maria Semple, best-selling author of Where'd You Go, Bernadette?

Language Arts was like yoga for my heart—my sentiments were stretched and strengthened, my imagination challenged and contorted, and when I finished, I felt grateful for this beautifully honest, lyrical journey. I loved this book.” — Jamie Ford, best-selling author of Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet

“A deeply moving story of ex-spouses and their young-adult autistic son, and how their pasts and presents inform their independent and cooperative futures. It maintains the top-notch standard set by Kallos’ earlier books, Broken for You and Sing Them Home.”—Cynthia Baskin,
Product Details
ISBN: 9780547939742
ISBN-10: 0547939744
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication Date: June 9th, 2015
Pages: 416
Language: English