Divine Economy of SalvationThe Divine Economy of Salvation - US

The Divine Economy of Salvation (Doubleday Canada): In an assured and sophisticated debut novel, celebrated poet Priscila Uppal crafts a dark and suspenseful tale about the crimes of youth that haunt adult life.

When she is sent away to a Catholic boarding school, Angela H. finds comfort and rebellion with a group of girls who call themselves The Sisterhood. On the verge of becoming women, the girls taunt and tempt each other with their budding sexuality. Angela᾿s festering sadness and frustration find a shocking target when the rituals of The Sisterhood take a violent turn at the initiation of angelic Bella.

Tormented by her past, Angela seeks refuge in a religious life, hiding herself in the sheltered world of a convent. Now, twenty-five years later, buried evidence of Bella᾿s death has emerged, threatening to shatter the safety of Angela᾿s existence and her belief that the sins of the past can be redeemed.

With startling emotional depth, Priscila Uppal captures the innocence and cruelty of adolescence, and takes us inside the rarely explored and shadowy world of female religious life.

Buy The Divine Economy of Salvation from the Canadian publisher or from Amazon.ca.

Praise for The Divine Economy of Salvation

“Get thee to a nunnery!”

Elle Magazine


“Uppal is particularly incisive about the difference between how girls behave individually and in groups, the rigid hierarchies and shifting allegiances teenagers form, and the simultaneously feverish and tentative ways in which young women learn about love and sex…The Divine Economy of Salvation is an accomplished, disquieting debut by a gifted writer.”

–Francine Prose, People Magazine


“A literary blessing…to be this young and this assured a storyteller, this insightful an observer of human nature, is, if not the produce of divine inspiration, at least very rare.”

–Susan Riley, The Ottawa Citizen


“Unforgettably divine…where the oridinary foibles of mortals and more horrifying than anything the supernatural could unleash…Think Lord of the Flies but with a pack of teenaged girls marooned in a boarding school, rather than a tropical island. Then, watch the plays for power, the emergence of secret societies and events that unfurl in ways far more deadly than even the cruelest children had ever intended.”

–Paul Gessell, The Ottawa Citizen


The Divine Economy of Salvation pours forth with all the power and passion of an oratio…Uppal poses questions that twist our guts and muddy our thoughts…(an) exquisitely sustained perspective, a haunting minor key that registers chills…Uppal’s tale of lingering horror and tentative hope will not soon be forgotten.”

–Donna Bailey Nurse, The Toronto Star


“Outstandingly successful…Uppal writes with a spare and sure effectiveness that is totally convincing…the terse intensity of language suffuses this book with suspense to its very end.”

–Clara Thomas, Books in Canada


“A luminous debut…haunting, gripping, and surprisingly nuanced: begins as a simply mystery and turns into a work of great depth and seriousness.”

Kirkus Review, starred review


“[A] beautifully crafted first novel…A stand-out debut and a wise, resonant, and unsettling look at female violence and the nature of family, faith, friendship, and repentance. Highly recommended.”

Library Journal


“[An] impressive debut…Uppal’s language is elegant and lyrical, her image lavish and startling. And she captures the loneliness, fear, jealousy, and brutality of the female adolescence, even while asking bold, unsettling questions about family secrets and betrayals, faith, shame, and reconciling the past.”



“[A] darkly riveting debut…unforgettable and suspenseful.”

–Beth Fhaner, Pages


“[An] introspective, beautifully written novel…terrifying and heartbreakingly sad.”

–Don Crinklaw, South Florida Sun-Sentinel


“Uppal captures the self-centeredness of youth and the anxious self-forgetfulness of adulthoood.”

–Henry L. Carrigan Jr. Observer, Charlotte, NC


“[A] tender and compelling debut…a fascinating portrait of a woman who has lived for 20 years in a state of paralysis and shame.”



Divine Economy itself reads like a confession…in a voice both crisp and inviting…As in life, the novel provides no easy answers.”

–Mimi Kriegsman, Time Out NY


“Wonderfully realized, The Divine Economy of Salvation is a dark, yet conceivable work of the imagination.”

–Andrew Armitage, The Sun Times, Owen Sound


“Uppal takes her readers deep into Sister Angela’s mind, and moves effortlessly back and forth between the long-ago past and the present. It’s a fascinating journey.”

–Ed Halloran, Rocky Mountain News


“She writes like a natural storyteller, teasing the reader with the secret, revealing an inch at a time, shrouding the rest. When she finally casts the long-hidden event into the reader’s view, it appears at once shocking and inevitable…[Uppal] calls to mind the doyenne of Canadian letters, Margaret Atwood, in her ability to evoke the unique strain of intimacy and cruelty that snakes through relationships between girls.”

–Karen Holt, ForeWord Magazine


“Uppal has published three books of poetry and her expertise at placing perfect words in perfect order makes the language a pleasure to all the senses.”

–W.P. Kinsella, Books in Canada


“A powerful debut novel by a very talented 27-year-old writer…examines our confessional culture and offers an insightful and not often portrayed look into religion from a predominantly female perspective.”

–Robert Earl Stewart, Drive


“We end up loving [the Sisterhood girls]. Uppal strips them of stereotype and gives honest portraits of individuals grappling with loneliness, loss and change. Their inability to risk expressing sadness or vulnerability will bring the reader back to the pain of adolescence…admirably confident…energetic and imaginative, that unveils the mysteries of a modern nun.”

–Claire Rothman, The Montreal Gazette


Divine Economy has more twists and turns and secret passages and booby traps than a Bond villain’s summer home…A remarkable, risky debut that only reveals itself when you let your guard down, and keeps its secrets well.”

–Murray Tong, The Hamilton Spectator


“A daring debut novel.”

–Flare Magazine


“Whoa! If you thought Catholic girls’ schools were scary, you’ll get all kinds of reinforcement from poet Priscila Uppal’s debut novel…Uppal’s prose in lucid and supple…the story’s got terrific drive.”

–Susan G. Cole, Now Magazine


“The author never lets overwriting obstruct her story. The book’s dramatic turning point is shrewdly foreshadowed and its revelation artfully delayed…In its confident voice and its unsparing, concisely powerful narrative–like Margaret Laurence at her best–Divine Economy is an impressive debut.”

–Fraser Sutherland, The Globe and Mail


“Stellar first novel.”

–Martin Levin, The Globe and Mail


“Uppal writes in a clean, clear voice…convincingly of women’s closed worlds…The Divine Economy of Salvation will reward those attuned to is subtler pleasures.”

–Robert Wiersema, Quill & Quire


“A page-turner of a novel.”

–Carol Bishop, The Gazette, York University


“[D]ense and compelling debut novel…Think of the Virgin Suicides (book and film), Heavenly Creatures: emotions heightened, fantasies left unchecked, sexual impulses bottled up to the point of explosion. Toss in good old Catholic guilt and you’ve got rich soil indeed.”

–Ian McGillis, The Montreal Gazette