Because of course she feels what he feels. . . . People their age natter along not copping to it but the awareness is billboarded all over their faces—a wavering, a hesitation, even those who used to crow and jab the air. The tablecloth of certainty, with all its sparkly settings, has been yanked, and not artfully. It's why people drink.
All The News I Need probes the modern American response to inevitable, ancient riddles—of love and sex and mortality.
Frances Ferguson is a lonely, sharp-tongued widow who lives in the wine country. Oliver Gaffney is a painfully shy gay man who guards a secret and lives out equally lonely days in San Francisco. Friends by default, Fran and Ollie nurse the deep anomie of loss and the creeping, animal betrayal of aging. Each loves routine but is anxious that life might be passing by. To crack open this stalemate, Fran insists the two travel together to Paris. The aftermath of their funny, bittersweet journey suggests those small changes, within our reach, that may help us save ourselves—somewhere toward the end.
"I was in thrall to these sentences, their music, their compassion and truth and disarming humility. All the News succeeds in so many ways: humor, pathos, place, intellect—and always back to the plain-old, humbly enchanting truth."—Sam Michel, author of Strange Cowboy
"Joan Frank is a writer of sublime power who reveals the lives of her characters with such care, insight, and elegance, that deeply buried feelings of victory and loss become inextricably bound up with our own."—Simon Van Booy, author of Father's Day
"All The News I Need brings us Ollie and Fran, two unforgettable characters who navigate the complications of late middle age: Joan Frank captures them in beautiful, perceptive prose, reminding us that we must keep nudging one another out into the world, because that's where true happiness lies. I will be quoting her 'rules for aging' at many dinner parties!"—Natalie Serber, author of Shout Her Lovely Name
"This wholly original novel asks and answers the most urgent of all questions: how are we to live? In precise, pointillist prose, Joan Frank humbly delivers an unforgettable and unconventional love story with characters who both define and defy the rules of aging. Beneath the surface of these deceptively quiet pages lies a barely containable exuberance, a life-force I found moving and inspiring."—Christopher Castellani, author of The Art of Perspective
"Joan Frank is a human insight machine. In All The News I Need, two old friends, bound together by economy, loneliness and desire, travel through France. What ensues is life itself, rendered with subtle ferocity on every page. Joan Frank writes prose like no one else's – so psychically vivid it's like walking around wearing other people's minds."—Carolyn Cooke, author of Amor and Psycho: Stories
"All the News I Need [offers] an unvarnished sense of what human dignity under assault looks like and feels like. The relevance is unmistakable. This is not fake news. . . . Joan Frank has gifted us with two unforgettable characters in a novel filled to bursting with hard truths and shimmering beauty."—Coffee Spew
"I can say beyond a doubt that Frank is a brilliant writer. She managed to transcend the ordinary in the creation of two very different, realistic characters."—She Reads Softly