"Diane DeSanders's genius lies in her ability to capture the intimate interiority of a very particular childhood while at the same time interrogating larger questions of class, race, and religion. Hap and Hazard and the End of the World is a gorgeous, profoundly original novel." —Dawn Raffel, author of Carrying the Body and The Secret Life of Objects
"Rollicking, tilted, and transporting. As the young narrator tries to manage her fraying family—war-wounded father, suffering mother, misbehaving relatives galore—DeSanders takes us deeper, always with such tenderness and beautiful observation into the ways we shape a narrative that keeps us whole." —Victoria Redel, author of Loverboy and Before Everything
For Dick and Jane, Dallas after World War II is a place of promise and prosperity: the first home air conditioners are making summertime bearable and Dick's position at his father's business, the Cadillac dealership, is assured. Jane has help with the house and the children, and garden parties and holiday celebrations are spirited social affairs. For the oldest of their three daughters, however, life is full of frustrating mysteries. The stories the adults tell her don't make sense. Too curious for comfort, she finds her questions only seem to annoy them. Why won't they tell the truth about Santa? What is that Holy Spirit business, and what is the difference between an angel and a ghost? Why is her mother often so tense and sad? And why does her father keep flying into violent rages?
Hap and Hazard and the End of the World is an intimate, finely crafted novel about the innocence and vulnerability of childhood and the dangers posed by adults who cannot cope with life's complexities. It is also about the ingenuity born of loneliness and neglect, and the surprising, strange beauty of the world.
A fifth-generation Texan, Diane DeSanders is a history buff, theater lover, poet, mother, and grandmother. Between careers as a history teacher and antiques dealer, she has worked in regional theater in almost every capacity. She now writes, gardens, and sings in Brooklyn, New York. This is her first novel.