"As organically as it traveled to heartbreak, Beneficence progresses to the place of wisdom that lies beyond it, where we learn that a home is part of the 'vast world of innocence and harm, ' not an island beyond it."
–Wall Street Journal
"People stay together, fall apart, come back together, altered. It is a book about work, about grief, about thick ongoing love. Hall's prose is hewn, sinewy, with moments of electrifying beauty and grace."
is a book with so much tenderness, heart, authenticity and wisdom. I know I will read it again."
"These voices from the past speak so clearly to our time, at a moment when many of us wonder whether we'll lose the things that we consider blessings....Beneficence
is a quiet but steady book, one that echoes ancient and important rhythms."
"A quiet gem of a first novel. The author's lyrical prose and stark portrayal of grief and guilt...is conveyed so movingly this story is hard to put down
. With language poetic in its cadence and capable of seamlessly transporting our minds and emotions to another place and time, this accomplished debut will be welcomed by readers of authors such as Willa Cather, Alice Munro, Amy Tan, or Lisa See."
"Spare but decked with moments of crystalline beauty.... A family flounders in grief, but finds their way home through forgiveness and acceptance, in Beneficence
, Meredith Hall's gorgeous and moving new novel."
–Foreword, starred review
"Powerful...[Hall's] meticulous prose convincingly captures the daily realities–sometimes beautiful, sometimes cruel–of agricultural life, and offers insight into the ways calamity fractures family bonds...readers will be rewarded."
"An emotional journey so deep into the lives of others, you will find yourself, and the people you love, staring back with a face for each of Meredith Hall's characters. One of the best books I've ever read, this quiet, family saga–a masterpiece of compassion and objectivity–has changed the way I see everyone around me, forever."
–Simon Van Booy
"This fiercely beautiful novel took hold of me from the very first page. Beneficence
is at once a page-turner and an artistic triumph. Meredith Hall takes on the old universal truths, as Faulkner once put it: love and honor and pity and pride and compassion and sacrifice. I loved this book, and will be thinking about the Senter family for a long time to come."
"If the word 'luminous' didn't already exist, you'd have to invent it to describe Meredith Hall's radiant new novel Beneficence
is a beautiful novel, quiet and meditative, exquisite in its language, moving in its emotional reach. It delivers a particular time and presence–a Maine farm in the 1950s–with deep love and understanding. This book is like a communion with the land."
"In the style of Marilynne Robinson and Stewart O'Nan, Hall writes with quiet urgency, drawing us close to the broken heart of one family's unspeakable loss. Hauntingly beautiful, emotionally devastating, and infused with great compassion, Beneficence
shines a light on that liminal space between hate and affection, fate and freewill, mercy and grace–and the power we have to redeem or destroy those we love the most."
is amazing in its vision. Luminous. With wisdom and compassion, Meredith Hall writes about the capacity for atonement. Beneficence, then. Goodness. Generosity to see deeply, to live through fear and pain on your journey toward the awareness of splendor."
"All novels are instruction kits for how they must be read. Meredith Hall's novel Beneficence
is forceful in this way and uniquely fruitful. Beneficence
will remind a reader of Willa Cather in that it instructs us to savor life, to set aside our cold spirit, to notice human beings closely and tenderly, and to believe that telling life plainly is a virtue which can achieve beauty."
"As quiet and as profound as the ocean's depths, Meredith Hall's Beneficence fathoms the meaning of love, family, grief, and compassion. The book glitters. It gives a perfect rendering of life's loveliness, just as it reminds us of how much we all have at stake in every precious moment."
"Beneficence is a marvel. In its granular attention to detail and soaring larger themes–not to mention its setting and subject matter–it reminds me of two of my favorite contemporary novels, Jane Hamilton's A Map of the World and Jane Smiley's A Thousand Acres. This book will stay with me; I will cherish it."
–Christina Baker Kline
"Meredith Hall is so patient and tender in the way she builds the world of the Senter family. In its heartfelt wisdom, Beneficence reminds me of the work of John Gardner and Rosellen Brown–magnificent in its intimacy."