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Joan: A Novel of Joan of Arc
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Random House Publishing Group 2022
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“This is not your grandmother’s St. Joan. . . . If every generation gets the Joan it deserves, ours could do worse than an ass-kicking, avenging angel fighting simply for the right to fight.”—The New York Times Book Review
WINNER OF THE AMERICAN LIBRARY IN PARIS BOOK AWARD • “It is as if Chen has crept inside a statue and breathed a soul into it, re-creating Joan of Arc as a woman for our time.”—Hilary Mantel, #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Booker Prize winner Wolf Hall
“A secular reimagining and feminist celebration of the life of Joan of Arc that transforms the legendary saint into a flawed yet undeniable young woman.”—USA Today


1412. France is mired in a losing war against England. Its people are starving. Its king is in hiding. From this chaos emerges a teenage girl who will turn the tide of battle and lead the French to victory, becoming an unlikely hero whose name will echo across the centuries. 
In Katherine J. Chen’s hands, the myth and legend of Joan of Arc is transformed into a flesh-and-blood young woman: reckless, steel-willed, and brilliant. This meticulously researched novel is a sweeping narrative of her life, from a childhood steeped in both joy and violence, to her meteoric rise to fame at the head of the French army, where she navigates the perils of the battlefield and the equally treacherous politics of the royal court. Many are threatened by a woman who leads, and Joan draws wrath and suspicion from all corners, while her first taste of fame and glory leaves her vulnerable to her own powerful ambition. 
With unforgettably vivid characters, transporting settings, and action-packed storytelling, Joan is a thrilling epic, a triumph of historical fiction, as well as a feminist celebration of one remarkable—and remarkably real—woman who left an indelible mark on history.

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Format:
Adobe EPUB eBook, Kindle Book, OverDrive Read
Street Date:
07/05/2022
Language:
English
ISBN:
9781984855817
ASIN:
B09HTKVV9P

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Citations

APA Citation (style guide)

Katherine J. Chen. (2022). Joan: A Novel of Joan of Arc. Random House Publishing Group.

Chicago / Turabian - Author Date Citation (style guide)

Katherine J. Chen. 2022. Joan: A Novel of Joan of Arc. Random House Publishing Group.

Chicago / Turabian - Humanities Citation (style guide)

Katherine J. Chen, Joan: A Novel of Joan of Arc. Random House Publishing Group, 2022.

MLA Citation (style guide)

Katherine J. Chen. Joan: A Novel of Joan of Arc. Random House Publishing Group, 2022.

Note! Citation formats are based on standards as of July 2022. Citations contain only title, author, edition, publisher, and year published. Citations should be used as a guideline and should be double checked for accuracy.

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      • bioText: Katherine J. Chen is the author of Joan: A Novel of Joan of Arc, which won the 2023 American Library in Paris Book Award, and Mary B. Her writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times Book Review, Los Angeles Review of Books, Literary Hub, and other publications. Her next book will explore the complex sibling relationship between Morgan le Fay and Arthur. She is a graduate of Princeton University and Boston University’s MFA Fiction program, and she is currently a doctoral student in the Department of English at Brown University.
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fullDescription
“This is not your grandmother’s St. Joan. . . . If every generation gets the Joan it deserves, ours could do worse than an ass-kicking, avenging angel fighting simply for the right to fight.”—The New York Times Book Review
WINNER OF THE AMERICAN LIBRARY IN PARIS BOOK AWARD • “It is as if Chen has crept inside a statue and breathed a soul into it, re-creating Joan of Arc as a woman for our time.”—Hilary Mantel, #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Booker Prize winner Wolf Hall
“A secular reimagining and feminist celebration of the life of Joan of Arc that transforms the legendary saint into a flawed yet undeniable young woman.”—USA Today


1412. France is mired in a losing war against England. Its people are starving. Its king is in hiding. From this chaos emerges a teenage girl who will turn the tide of battle and lead the French to victory, becoming an unlikely hero whose name will echo across the centuries. 
In Katherine J. Chen’s hands, the myth and legend of Joan of Arc is transformed into a flesh-and-blood young woman: reckless, steel-willed, and brilliant. This meticulously researched novel is a sweeping narrative of her life, from a childhood steeped in both joy and violence, to her meteoric rise to fame at the head of the French army, where she navigates the perils of the battlefield and the equally treacherous politics of the royal court. Many are threatened by a woman who leads, and Joan draws wrath and suspicion from all corners, while her first taste of fame and glory leaves her vulnerable to her own powerful ambition. 
With unforgettably vivid characters, transporting settings, and action-packed storytelling, Joan is a thrilling epic, a triumph of historical fiction, as well as a feminist celebration of one remarkable—and remarkably real—woman who left an indelible mark on history.
reviews
      • premium: True
      • source: Publisher's Weekly
      • content:

        May 9, 2022
        Chen (Mary B) offers a smartly written rendition of the life of Joan of Arc (1412–1431). The story begins with Joan at 10, growing up in a large family in the French village of Domrémy and raised by her abusive father, Jacques. Joan’s simple life is soon transformed by her encounter with major historical events after 17-year-old Charles VII, heir to the French throne, is removed from France’s line of succession by his father Charles VI and Henry V of England. As Joan grows up and becomes more skilled with weaponry, she seeks to fight for Charles VII, finally meeting him and working her way toward being the head of the French army. Contrary to common depictions of Joan as a religious fanatic, Chen’s Joan is a secularized heroine whose relationship to God amounts to “bargaining” and whose very human nature sweeps her up in rivalries at court. Chen incorporates a plethora of courtiers and clergy, knights, soldiers, and common folk into her vivid scenes, whether a village fair at Vaucouleurs or the daily struggles in war-torn France. While some readers may question Chen’s reimagining of Joan’s character, she does a wonderful job depicting Joan’s soldier mentality and fierce heart. Like the passionate protagonist, this is a force to be reckoned with. Agent: Elisabeth Weed, Book Group.

      • premium: True
      • source: Library Journal
      • content:

        June 17, 2022

        Chen's (Mary B) new work of historical fiction traces the life of Joan of Arc from 1422 (during her childhood) until her capture by the English in 1430. The author portrays Joan as a complex person, shaped by experiences throughout her life that drive her to become a soldier and martyr for France. While Chen acknowledges that she has taken many liberties with Joan's story to make it relatable to the novel's readers, the result is an intense character whose motivations are far more complex than the religious fanaticism that's often associated with Joan. Instead, Joan is presented here as a product of many powerful influences throughout her life, including an abusive home, childhood traumas, the ever-present English threat to her homeland, and France's political instability. Historical details are woven into the narrative, and Chen's explanations provide enough context to understand the events without being too overwhelming. VERDICT Chen's novel isn't intended to replace a biography of Joan of Arc; instead, it's a good choice for historical fiction readers who are curious for a unique perspective on the saint, one which may serve as an entry point to learn more about her life.--Sarah Stimson

        Copyright 2022 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

      • premium: True
      • source: Booklist
      • content:

        Starred review from May 15, 2022
        Her battles began in her own home. In this revolutionary reimagining of Joan of Arc, the legendary figure is first shown not in gleaming armor winning glory on the battlefield, but as a girl sitting on the sidelines while boys from neighboring towns fight with rocks. Her father, Jacques, as cunning as he is cruel, hates her from birth because he bet she would be born a boy. He beats her mercilessly, even kills her dog as punishment. As she grows, her strength, skill, and size make her seem better equipped for the armory than the kitchen. After her beloved sister dies following an English assault on their small town, she vows revenge, and soon her talents catch the eye of a courtier looking for a miracle maker. The Dauphin of France agrees to test her abilities as an instrument of God, as his precarious hold on the regions still loyal to him comes closer to slipping away. Joan is tasked with lifting the months-long siege of Orl�ans, a feat she accomplishes in a matter of days, and returns to the Dauphin to find he believes she is a holy woman. As Joan's popularity among the people grows, so does the resentment among some of the powerful people displaced by her rise. Chen masterfully transforms the two-dimensional martyr into a multifaceted woman and warrior.

        COPYRIGHT(2022) Booklist, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

      • premium: True
      • source: Kirkus
      • content:

        Starred review from May 1, 2022
        The author of Mary B (2018) eschews hagiography in this very human portrait of Joan of Arc. Jeanne d'Arc became a symbol, rather than a person, the moment she joined the court in exile of the Dauphin, the outcast prince who would become Charles VII, King of France. Making her real requires imagination and empathy, and Chen brings both to the task of putting solid flesh on the charred bones of a legendary figure. The Joan we meet here is not a saint. She's a savant, and her genius is for violence. She becomes an expert with a longbow the moment she releases her first arrow. She bests a knight after six days of training with a sword. And when she goes to war for the Dauphin, she is unstoppable on the battlefield. This Joan is earthy. Her encounters with saints do not take the form of mystical visions or spiritual instruction. St. Michael appears stamped into the dessert that gives Joan her first taste of cinnamon. She thinks she hears a statue of St. Margaret laughing the first time Joan knocks a bully to the ground with a single punch. When she finally hears a voice from heaven, it's not Catherine of Sienna's; it's her sister Catherine's. Although it's very different in tone from Matrix (2021), Chen's take on the Maid of Orl�ans feels similar to that of Lauren Groff's version of Marie de France. Both authors present their protagonists as women who understand that it's their destiny to be powerful, and both authors allow these women to possess beliefs and attitudes that may be anachronistic but feel true--and satisfying--in context. That Joan will be captured, convicted of heresy, and die at the age of 19 is a foregone conclusion, but as Joan approaches bodily death she foresees her second life as a symbol. "Before each battle, the foot soldiers, artillerymen, and sappers will bend their heads and call my name. They will say, Joan, give me strength and courage, and I shall hear them, wherever I am. I can never die." An elegant and engaging work of historical fiction.

        COPYRIGHT(2022) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

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“This is not your grandmother’s St. Joan. . . . If every generation gets the Joan it deserves, ours could do worse than an ass-kicking, avenging angel fighting simply for the right to fight.”—The New York Times Book Review
WINNER OF THE AMERICAN LIBRARY IN PARIS BOOK AWARD • “It is as if Chen has crept inside a statue and breathed a soul into it, re-creating Joan of Arc as a woman for our time.”—Hilary Mantel, #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Booker Prize winner Wolf Hall
“A secular reimagining and feminist celebration of the life of Joan of Arc that transforms the legendary saint into a flawed yet undeniable young woman.”—USA Today


1412. France is mired in a losing war against England. Its people are starving. Its king is in hiding. From this chaos emerges a teenage girl who will turn the tide of battle and lead the French to victory,...
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