A darkly shimmering novel of a nurse on the edge of burnout, by “an immensely talented young writer . . . Her fearlessness renews one's faith in the power of literature” (George Saunders).
Laura is a nurse in a pediatric unit. On long, quiet shifts, she and her colleagues, clad in their different shades of blue, care for sick babies, handling their exquisitely fragile bodies and carefully calibrating the mysterious machines that keep them alive.
Laura may be burnt out. Her hands have been raw from washing as long as she can remember. When she sleeps, she dreams of water; when she wakes, she finds herself lying next to a man who doesn't love her anymore. And there is a strange figure dancing in the corner of her vision, always just beyond her reach.
Dark yet luminous, sensual yet chilling, written with a visceral rhythm and laced with dread, Rest and Be Thankful is an unforgettable novel that confirms Emma Glass as a visionary new voice.
Emma Glass was born in Wales in 1987 and is now based in London, where she writes and works as a children's nurse. Her debut novel Peach was published by Bloomsbury in 2018, has been translated into seven languages and was long-listed for the International Dylan Thomas Prize. Her second novel Rest and Be Thankful will be published by Bloomsbury in 2020.
"You should read this book because it gives explosive and overdue literary consideration to medical personnel. . . Glass stokes her first-person writing to a sumptuous tumult. . . I love how unself-conscious [she] is. . . she makes brave commitments, and gives to them everything she has." - New Yorker's Critics 10 Favorite Fiction Books of 2020
“A visceral and dreamlike literary portrait of a burned-out pediatric nurse working night shifts in a neonatal ward.” —USA Today
“In Glass's trademark, lyrical style, it follows a woman on the edge-a night-shift nurse in a pediatric unit who may or may not be seeing things.” —LitHub, Most Anticipated Books of 2020
“Atmospheric and eerie, Rest and Be Thankful is full of Glass's poetic observations, and will leave you thoroughly haunted and entranced.” —Refinery29
“Glass wants readers inside Laura's body, tasting seawater in her nightmares of drowning, feeling her limb-heaviness as she falls asleep at a friend's kitchen table. Such richness makes all of Glass' writing stand out, but this glimpse into the world of nursing feels like a true literary rarity. . . A heart-wrenching and poetic look at a profession that deserves more literary attention.” —Kirkus Reviews, Starred Review
“Gorgeously written ... It's heartbreaking but beautiful, and perfect for escaping into.” —Florence Welch of Florence and the Machine
“A slim, dreamy sophomore novel. . . Glass's prose perfectly elicits the restless waking torment that drapes over Laura. The novel is visceral, and readers will keep turning the pages in fascinated dread.” —Publishers Weekly
“This second novel from Glass, a writer and nurse, explores trauma as poetically, inventively, and incisively as her debut, Peach, this time from the perspective of pediatric nurse Laura. … Across her emotionally tender, titled chapters, Glass grants readers access to the many-dimensional Laura, so strong but struggling to care for herself as unreservedly as she cares for others.” —Booklist
“Glass maintains [a] fragile balance with poetic yet direct language, in a text anchored by epigrammatic chapter headings that makes this hallucinatory (yet all too graphically real) book click. It reads almost like a thriller as Laura's mind slips. During our own time of heightened crisis, this bracing, even brutal, novel dresses you in the uncomfortable scrubs and clogs of one who has witnessed horror but then washed up to begin work again.” —Boston Globe
“Dynamo . . . a pungent piece of writing, tactile and sensory to the extreme . . . a lived-in portrait of a hardworking woman pushed to the fringes of her mind, where she keeps finding new reserves of strength, and a reminder that literary heroism takes many different forms.” —Minneapolis Star Tribune
“A haunting, intimate portrayal of the nurses who sacrifice their physical and psychological well-being for the sake of others. . . a visceral, disturbing, and sometimes oh-so-tragic reminder that as a community we need to do more for our care-givers globally – that a round of applause is simply not enough.” —Locus Magazine
“I need you all to read this so we can have an Alma book club to discuss the ending. I'm not joking!!! Someone talk to me about the ending of this book!!” —Alma
"Glass’s Rest and Be Thankful powerfully describes what it means to be a health-care worker. . . [the novel] functions as a powerful document, a testament to the silent class of first responders who risk their safety in exchange for scattered 7 p.m. applause during a pandemic. Glass’s short book ably meets the ponderous inquiries of caregiving in a tribute to both fragility and forbearance." - Washington Post
"Glass, who also works as a nurse in London, tells this story in poignant vignettes and anchors this slim novel in the hospital workplace where the protagonist, who doubles as the first-person narrator, works in the newborn department." - The Seattle Times
"Glass, from her vantage point as a nurse and a gifted young author, makes much of an awesome opportunity to report from the front lines of a quiet war . . . [her] intimate knowledge of nursing can make her details feel breathtakingly authentic." - Los Angeles Times
"The prose is incantatory and prickly, slipping almost imperceptibly into the mode of a horror story. It takes a minute to fall into the book’s rhythm, but once you do, it’ll make the hairs on the back of your brain stand up." - Vulture (NY Mag) Newsletter
"I was humbled to be in Laura’s dreams. The ending wades out onto the shore, glad you were able to witness it." - Feminist Book Club