A year in the life of the members of the divided McKotch family, revealing their secrets and their conflicts The house by the sea held sepia-tinted family memories tight within its walls. Once a year it was dusted down, its windows flung open, the sound of laughter echoed throughout its rooms; this was the rhythm of family life. All that is about ...
A year in the life of the members of the divided McKotch family, revealing their secrets and their conflicts The house by the sea held sepia-tinted family memories tight within its walls. Once a year it was dusted down, its windows flung open, the sound of laughter echoed throughout its rooms; this was the rhythm of family life. All that is about to change. When Gwen, the youngest child, is diagnosed with Turner's Syndrome, the family knows that her body will never grow to adulthood. Frank, her scientist father, is fascinated by the disease, while Paulette her mother is horrified. As they struggle to cope with the ramifications of Gwen's illness, her parents see the cracks within their marriage widen irreparably. Equally affected are their sons; one a successful lawyer in denial about who he is, the other whose search for himself and his need for his parents' approval has only resulted in a series of dead ends. Jennifer Haigh paints a brilliant portrait of a family idyll and its seemingly inevitable and painful disintegration in this stunning and thought-provoking novel.
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All of the characters are three dimensional in this beautifully rendered tale. They became my friends and my neighbors. It was as if i were sitting with them and they personally explained their lives. This book is especially poignant for those who grow up in New England. All of the characters ring so true. Ms, Haigh is one of our finest novelists. I have read everything she has written and look forward to what comes next.
Nov 26, 2009
Was sent to a friend who stated she loved the book.
Publishers Weekly, 2008-08-25 Haigh's third novel relates the heartbreaking story of Gwen McKotche, a young woman inflicted with Turner's syndrome, which will forever trap her in the body of a child, and her family's trials and tribulations. With flawed yet honest and caring characters, Jennifer Van Dyck relates the story in a believable voice drenched in sadness without editorializing. Van Dyck delivers a solid reading that displays her knack for emotional storytelling while still allowing her audience the privilege of commanding their own emotions for the majority of the tale. Van Dyck never tries to force sympathy and tears from her audience, but will have no problem bringing them to the surface of each listener. A Harper hardcover (Reviews, Feb. 18). (July) Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.
Publishers Weekly, 2008-02-18 A dysfunctional New England family struggles toward normalcy in this poignant novel from PEN/Hemingway-winner Haigh, who follows the children of resentful, controlling, Paulette and distracted, needy Frank. Even during a childhood in idyllic Cape Cod, there are hints of a rocky future. When that future arrives, Billy, the most successful of the children, keeps a secret about his sophisticated New York life from almost everyone. Scott, formerly the uncontrollable brat of the bunch, sees himself in his own troubled son. Meanwhile, Gwen suffers from a genetic condition that prevents her from developing into womanhood. The story starts slowly, and while the setup feels familiar (a fractured New England family), the children take unexpected turns that shake up the narrative, leading to the most surprising twist of all: despite the sobering events chronicled, there's a strong nod to the healing power of love. Haigh allows the reader to sympathize with each of the family members, and, in turn, to see their flaws and better understand them. (June) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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