News
 

The San Franciso Chronicle reviews Florence in Ecstasy!

Foreign rights for Florence in Ecstasy have been sold to Argo in the Czech Republic and Eksmo in Russia.

Florence in Ecstasy selected as one of Book Riot’s “Best Books of 2017 (So Far)”

Jessie is now on tour with Florence in Ecstasy!


Press & Reviews
 

San Francisco ChronicleYou've entered Jessie Chaffee’s thoughtful, provocative first novel, Florence in Ecstasy. The novel’s pleasures arise from the jostling together of elements that vitalize and dimensionalize its story . . . Florence brings readers on a gentle tour of the glorious city and adjacent areas, of its habits, history, art and books . . . At the same time, the novel examines some of the ways an anorexic mind perceives the world and itself—perception initially made more stark, yet eventually rerouted, by its paradoxical juxtaposition to the abbondanza of sensuous pleasures for which Firenze is famous.” Read the review

NPRThus begins Hannah's full-bodied fight with an old, powerful metaphor—is denial of the self rapturous or self-destructive? In a world that punishes women for being women, can you forge a place for yourself in the world without it? . . . Her hunger—for food, for happiness, for meaning—rises off the page, sharpens to a high pitch, balloons into elation, and then dissolves her . . . there is a classic but reimagined narrative at work here: a person's existential reckoning on unfamiliar soil. In this case, a woman on the edge, in a liminal city that sits between the past and the present, searching for her missing body—which is to say, herself.” Read the review

Publishers WeeklyChaffee’s debut novel is an unflinching look at a woman’s attempt to outrun her demons through an international escape . . . The prose is both rich and restrained, eschewing the cliché of melodrama . . . Chaffee treats Hannah’s story with both respect and honesty, displaying not only diligent research but also an emotional intuition that brings Hannah to startling life and makes her story quite moving.” Read the review

Girl in Florence review: “Visceral, haunting . . . one of the best books I’ve read this year.”  

One of Book Riot’s “Best Books of 2017 (So Far)” 

Book Riot’s “Books to Celebrate Italy”: “A gorgeous exploration of the recovery process of a woman with an eating disorder.”

The Florentine’s recommended summer reads: “She is determined to recover in Florence.”

Read it Forward’s Favorite Reads of May: “A fantastic debut with gorgeous language and a dreamy locale.”

Baltimore Style’s recommended summer reads: “This is literary fiction that takes you deep into the heart and soul of Florence, Italy.” 

Vol. 1 Brooklyn’s May Book Preview: “The atmospheric story being told here is one about overcoming trauma.”
 

Advance Praise for Florence in Ecstasy


Florence In Ecstasy evokes the beauty of the Florentine landscape as vividly as it depicts the physical, and spiritual, turmoil of a young woman on the edge. Jessie Chaffee's Hannah is never defined by her illness alone, but by the breadth of her intelligence and the depth of her emotional life. This is a remarkable debut—frank, serious, eloquent.”
Alice McDermott, National Book Award-winning author of Charming Billy and Someone
 

Jessie Chaffee's protagonist Hannah finds herself in Florence far from home, unseen, unknown, estranged even from her body: in the most literal sense, in ecstasy. Chaffee's fierce debut brings Hannah's struggles, discoveries, and sweet triumphs to life.”
Claire MessudNew York Times best-selling author of The Emperor’s Children and The Woman Upstairs


“Be ready to be provoked and transported by Florence in Ecstasy, a haunting, beautiful novel of womanhood, the saints, and the mysteries of the body. Jessie Chaffee writes all this, and more, with a lyrical, fierce fragility.”
Krys Lee, author of Drifting House and How I Became a North Korean, finalist for the Center for Fiction First Novel Prize


“Jessie Chaffee’s luminous debut Florence in Ecstasy is a hypnotic, addictive read. The shade of E. M. Forster stalks the heels of this story of one American woman at a crossroads in her life, in prose as lyrical and precise as it is evocative and haunting. Florence in Ecstasy delves with insight into the foreignness we find so often in our own bodies, in our own selves, giving name to that strange tension between presence and absence. Hannah of Boston tiptoes toward her own kind of hideous rapture, a beauty so devastating that we cannot look away.”
Katherine HoweNew York Times best-selling author of The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane


Florence in Ecstasy is a deeply affecting novel. It reminds us how easily the self can be lost and sometimes, with great difficulty, recreated. In perfectly calibrated prose, Jessie Chaffee depicts a woman in the throes of a devastating existential reckoning.”
Linsey Abrams, author of Our History in New York, Double Vision, and Charting the Stars, and the libretto for the opera Rappaccini’s Daughter