Resting Places

Michael C. White

A woman’s journey of self-discovery and spiritual awakening

After receiving the devastating news of her son’s death, Elizabeth ekes out a lonely and strained relationship with her husband, Zach. While he takes comfort in support groups, Elizabeth becomes withdrawn and seeks solace from the only thing that helps her forget: alcohol. A chance meeting with a man on the side of the road spurs her to travel cross-country to the site of her son’s death in the hope of understanding what had happened.

During the trip, she undergoes a transformation, one which allows her to confront the demons of her past but also to acknowledge the possibilities of her future. Through the wisdom and kindness of a man she meets along the way, she finds a means not only of dealing with her pain and her guilt, but of opening herself to the redemptive power of love, and of faith in something. Resting Places is an inspiring, upbeat story, a tale of real faith in what we cannot see except with our hearts, a novel that follows a character from despair to hope, from despondency to renewal.


"His new novel, Resting Places, highjacks people across the country and keeps them up at night."

Portland Monthly Magazine, February-March 2016 issue, page 53

“This is a beautifully crafted novel of unbearable loss and earned forgiveness. Elizabeth, a middle-aged lawyer, crosses the country in search of her son’s final resting place. Along the way, she uncovers the best and the worst of herself. Michael C. White has wrought a remarkably moving tale of love and redemption.”

—Anita Shreve, author of The Pilot’s Wife and Rescue

"An inherently absorbing novel from beginning to end, Resting Places is ultimately an inspiring, upbeat story of genuine faith in what we cannot see except with our hearts. Showcasing author Michael C. White's impressive skills as an original and accomplished storyteller, Resting Places is an especially recommended addition for community library General Fiction collections."

—James A. Cox, Editor-in-Chief, Midwest Book Review, Small Press Bookwatch: March 2016

Resting Places takes readers into that most feared of landscapes: the difficult terrain where a parent must grieve the loss of a child. But Michael C. White is a masterful storyteller and a deft tour guide who interfaces this meditation on sorrow and death with a classic but contemporary quest story. Traveling alongside the author’s complex, sympathetic, but not always likable protagonist as she searched for the meaning of her son’s life and death, I read compulsively and voraciously. Elizabeth Gerlacher is a character I will long remember and Resting Places is a story I will not soon forget.”

—Wally Lamb, author of She’s Come Undone and I Know This Much Is True

“This is a lovely, searing book. A son dies in a baffling car smashup, and circumstances hint at the even-worse agony of a suicide. With consummate skill and tenderness, Michael C. White follows his parents onto the broken ground of the unbearable hereafter.”

—Jacquelyn Mitchard, author of The Deep End of the Ocean

Resting Places is no restful terrain for Elizabeth, the heroine, in White’s deeply soulful and brilliantly mythical novel. It is a masterful summation of all life’s possibilities and its ultimate triumph. The ending made me weep with joy; the grace of this masterful novel still lingers deep inside my soul long after I grudgingly laid this book down.”

—Da Chen, author of Colors of Mountain and My Last Empress

“In Resting Places, Michael C. White takes on that most daunting of challenges: excavating the grief of a mother who has lost her only son. While her husband Zack attends support groups, Elizabeth isolates herself emotionally until a chance encounter of a rainy highway sets her on an unexpected path toward salvation. Haunted by the makeshift roadside crosses commemorating lost souls, Elizabeth searches for answers, and for a resting place of her own. The story is a masterful exploration of the guilt, the anguish, and the mystery of catastrophic loss. Michael C. White is one of our most gifted authors, and he is at his best in this profoundly moving and brilliantly written book.”

—Clint McCown, author of Haints and War Memorials

About the Author

Read Portland Magazine's interview with Michael C. White.

Michael C. White is the author of six previous novels: Beautiful Assassin, which won the 2011 Connecticut Book Award for Fiction; Soul Catcher, which was a Booksense and Historical Novels Review selection, as well as a finalist for the Connecticut Book Award; A Brother’s Blood, a New York Times Book Review Notable Book and a Barnes and Noble Discover Great New Writers nominee; The Blind Side of the Heart, an Alternate Book-of-the-Month Club selection; A Dream of Wolves, which received starred reviews from Booklist and Publisher’s Weekly; and The Garden of Martyrs, also a Connecticut Book Award finalist. A collection of his short stories, Marked Men, was published by the University of Missouri Press. He has also published over 50 short stories in national magazines and journals, and has won the Advocate Newspapers Fiction Award and been nominated for both a National Magazine Award and a Pushcart. He was the founding editor of the yearly fiction anthology American Fiction as well as Dogwood. He is the founder and director of Fairfield University’s low-residency MFA Creative Writing Program.