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.
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.
Claiming Kin is a powerful and compelling story about a woman's quest to search out her roots upon the death of the father she barely knew. A former journalist hungry for the truth, her search into the past leads her from her hometown in Nashville, Tennessee, back to the birthplace of the Scruggs in nearby Williamson County. There she traces the family back to 1847 and the Scruggs Farm where her ancestors were once slaves. Her journey soon becomes spiritual and emotional, forcing her not only to examine her own beliefs in the importance of family, but also her religious beliefs as she turns toward honoring her ancestors. This is a tale that will capture the heart and mind.
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.