The family is uncommonly close: Michael’s childless Auntie Hankie and Uncle Irving, glamorous Hollywood screenwriters, are doubly related— Hankie is his father’s sister, and Irving is his mother’s brother. The two families live near each other in Laurel Canyon. In this strangely intertwined world, even the author’s grandmothers—who dislike each other—share a nearby apartment.
Strangest of all is the way Auntie Hankie, with her extravagant personality, comes to bend the wider family to her will. Talented, mercurial, and lavish with her love, she divides Michael from his parents and his two younger brothers as she takes charge of his education, guiding him to the right books to read (Proust, not Zola), the right painters to admire (Matisse, not Pollock), the right architectural styles to embrace (period, not modern—or mo-derne, as she pronounces the word, with palpable disdain). She trains his mind and his eye—until that eye begins to see on its own. When this “son” Hankie longs for grows up and begins to turn away from her, her moods darken, and a series of shattering scenes compel Michael to reconstruct both himself and his family narrative as he tries to reconcile the woman he once adored with the troubled figure he discovers her to be.
In its portrayal of this fascinating, singularly polarizing figure, the boy in her thrall, and the man that boy becomes, The Mighty Franks will speak to any reader who has ever struggled to find an independent voice amid the turbulence of family life.
With the publication of her acclaimed short story collection Slaves of New York, Tama Janowitz was crowned the Lit Girl of New York. Celebrated in rarified literary and social circles, she was hailed, alongside Mark Lindquist, Bret Easton Ellis, and Jay McInerney, as one of the original “Brat Pack” writers—a wave of young minimalist authors whose wry, urbane sensibility captured the zeitgeist of the time, propelling them to the forefront of American culture.
In Scream, her first memoir, Janowitz recalls the quirky literary world of young downtown New York in the go-go 1980s and reflects on her life today far away from the city indelible to her work. As in Slaves of New York and A Certain Age, Janowitz turns a critical eye towards life, this time her own, recounting the vagaries of fame and fortune as a writer devoted to her art. Here, too, is Tama as daughter, wife, and mother, wrestling with aging, loss, and angst, both adolescent (her daughter) and middle aged (her own) as she cares for a mother plagued by dementia, battles a brother who questions her choices, and endures the criticism of a surly teenager.
Filled with a very real, very personal cast of characters, Scream is an intimate, scorching memoir rife with the humor, insight, and experience of a writer with a surgeon’s eye for detail, and a skill for cutting straight to the strangest parts of life.
While Susan, a typically feisty seven-year-old, is busy being brave, her mother, Eddress, is struggling for courage. Though bound by an indestructible love, their journey through a world that is darkening with tragedy is fraught with the kind of misunderstandings that bring as much laughter as pain, and as many dreams as nightmares. How does a child cope when faced with a wall of adult secrets? What does a mother do when her biggest fear starts to become a reality? Because it's the Sixties, and because it's shameful to own up to feelings, Eddress tries to deny the truth, while Susan creates a world that will never allow her mother to leave.
Set in a world where a fridge is a luxury, cars have starting handles, and where bingo and coupons bring in the little extras, Just One More Day is a deeply moving true-life account, told by mother and daughter, of how the spectre of death moved into their family, and how hard they tried to pretend it wasn't there.
How is it that we come to consider our parents as people with rich and intense lives that include but also exclude us? Richard Ford’s parents—Edna, a feisty, pretty Catholic-school girl with a difficult past; and Parker, a sweet-natured, soft-spoken traveling salesman—were rural Arkansans born at the turn of the twentieth century. Married in 1928, they lived “alone together” on the road, traveling throughout the South. Eventually they had one child, born late, in 1944.
For Ford, the questions of what his parents dreamed of, how they loved each other and loved him become a striking portrait of American life in the mid-century. Between Them is his vivid image of where his life began and where his parents’ lives found their greatest satisfaction.
Bringing his celebrated candor, wit, and intelligence to this most intimate and mysterious of landscapes—our parents’ lives—the award-winning storyteller and creator of the iconic Frank Bascombe delivers an unforgettable exploration of memory, intimacy, and love.
Costanza Ansaldo, a half-Italian and half-American translator, is convinced that she has made peace with her childlessness. A year after the death of her husband, an eminent writer, she returns to the pensione in Florence where she spent many happy times in her youth, and there she meets, first, Andrew Weissman, an acutely sensitive seventeen-year-old, and, soon afterward, his father, Henry Weissman, a charismatic New York physician who specializes in—as it happens—reproductive medicine.
With three lives each marked by heartbreak and absence—of a child, a parent, a partner, or a clear sense of identity—What is Missing offers Costanza, Andrew, and Henry the opportunity to make themselves whole when the triangle resumes three months later in New York, where the relationships among them turn and tighten with combustive effects that cut to the core of what it means to be a father, a son, and—for Costanza—a potential mother.