Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating


3.82 of 5 stars 3.82  ·  rating details  ·  61 ratings  ·  13 reviews
From the prize-winning author Lucia Nevai comes the smart, poignant, and richly imagined novel Salvation, the coming of age story of Crane Cavanaugh.

Born into a family of three former charlatan preachers and two older siblings living in poverty in rural Iowa, Crane is a budding scientist with a rich awareness of the natural world and her own precarious spot in it.

Crane nar...more
Paperback, 240 pages
Published May 28th 2008 by Tin House Books
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Salvation, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Salvation

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 101)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
This book was beautifully written. It reminded me of My Happy Life, by Lydia Millet, which is one of my favorite books.

Crane is aware that her life is difficult, and as the book goes on, realizes that she and her siblings live differently than other people. Nevai does a great job of giving the reader more information as Crane grows up and encounters new people and situations.

Crane's life is dismal, but the book doesn't feel oppressive or depressing. It's streaked with dark humor, and the lovin...more
Karen Hansen
Lucia Nevai’s “Salvation” is a story that is so depressing with such messed up characters that I just couldn’t put it down. The story is told from the point of view of Crane Cavanaugh, who was born despite a botched abortion attempt, to a mother who is a whore. Crane’s mother moves into a shack, where she becomes a squatter with a couple and their two children. This group becomes somewhat of a family that picks up odd jobs and preaches. The three children are forced to band together against a li...more
Crane Cavanaugh, the central character in Lucia Nevai's novel Salvation, is the kind of character that will remind you to count your blessings; that as bad as things are they could be worse.

Crane's mother, a prostitute living with two former charlatan evangelists/revivalists, tried to end her life in the womb and fails to provide for her in almost every conceivable way after she survives. She lives, along with her half-siblings "Jima" and "Little Duck", in a squatters shack in rural Iowa trying...more
I thoroughly enjoyed this book, although at first I wasn’t sure why. It is a gritty story of a girl raised in abject poverty in rural Iowa, along with her half-siblings. The parents are bizarre but oddly believable—a devout woman, a swindler-and-charlatan-preacher father, and a prostitute.

Crane’s life is mostly heartbreaking but throughout there is a sense of hope because one knows from the outset that she rises out of her disadvantaged situation. Probably this is why I liked it. In the end, it...more
I picked this book because of its (central) Iowa setting, but I admit I was prepared to discount it because it's the typical coming-of-age-amid- extreme-dysfunction story, but it grew on me, especially in the second half, after our young narrator alternates between telling us about her doting adoptive mother's persistent attempts to "improve" her social, especially dating, life and accounts of her systematic scientific observations of ants. This stands out for its poetic writing, too, though unt...more
Why hadn't I heard of this book? The author is not just someone who came to Iowa City and then throws in a mention of rolling farmland to prove they are part of the MFA club. This is a story by a real Iowan. Who makes rural Iowa a character like The Wire makes Baltimore the heart of the story. She's a wonderful writer; smart and original. It's a similar story to Glass Castle but so much more forgiving and beautiful.
Therese Walsh
Dark, luscious survival of the fittest tale, with each of three siblings surviving a brutally negligent upbringing in their own way. Little Duck survived through good looks. Jima survived through liquor and by being needed to help sustain her sister’s life. Crane survived through her intellect, which sometimes meant appearing dull-witted, though she was anything but. Highly recommended.
Jamie L
Although I have nothing bad to say about this book, I don't have much good to say either. It sort-of reminded me of a ghetto THE GLASS CASTLE.

Failed abortion leaves child disfigures. Parents are whacked and super poor. Child is brilliant and exceeds everyone's expectations.
This novel follows the life of the prodigious protagonist, Crane Cavanaugh. From her own conception to the birth of her career in the academic sciences, the reader ricochets from chuckles to incredulous empathy for Crane as she passively undergoes transformations.
I picked up this book off of a coffee table while on vacation at a beach house and couldnt put it down. It was so grueling and depressing but humerous at times...i just wanted more and more. I loved how Lucia Nevai began narrating as a newborn drug addicted baby.
Very strange start, but the middle gets really good and sucks you in. I was a tad bit disappointed by the end, but overall, it was worth the read.
Though the way it quickly resolved at the end was off-putting. . .
I loved this book. Smart, funny and compelling.
Meg marked it as to-read
Aug 24, 2014
Nynaevealmeera marked it as to-read
Aug 21, 2014
Lisa marked it as to-read
Jul 09, 2014
Tracy Q.
Tracy Q. marked it as to-read
Jun 19, 2014
Grok Testuser
Grok Testuser is currently reading it
Dec 12, 2013
Sarah marked it as to-read
Sep 04, 2013
Sacha Henderson
Sacha Henderson marked it as to-read
Aug 05, 2013
Elizabeth marked it as to-read
Jul 04, 2013
Megan added it
Jul 09, 2013
« previous 1 3 4 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
Seriously Normal Jill's Special Summer Star Game Glimmer Train Stories, #54

Share This Book

No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »