Devastating and brilliant, I read this book heart-first: caught up in the mystery of grief, love, loss and yearning and their impact so primal that it causes us to act in ways we arguably have no absolute control over at all.
The story is told in two voices: Nell, a thirty-something academic, deeply loved yet also lacking some essential connection to a family where she is clearly favored and adored by her working-class parents, and resented by her less conventionally successful sisters; and Annie, Nell’s mother, a woman who has loved and cherished her daughters above all else in her life, and now in her twilight years, struggles with the cruel and devastating onset of dementia.
Without giving the plot away (no spoilers here), the story winds though a beautifully layered path that reveals to us the complex inner dynamics of a flesh-and-blood family – in both the “Now” of the current story, and the “Then” of the past that has led us to the elements in play. Of which there are many. The author does a superb job of introducing a host of themes that are guaranteed to break your heart, disquieting and confusing any sense of black-and-white morality you may have previously believed securely footed.
I adored this book. Gripping in its pacing and spell-binding in its slow unfurling of the hearts of characters so real that their emotions become completely intertwined with your own (in some places with such harrowing rawness that it makes for difficult reading), this is a book to be savored, read again, and will no doubt will go on my “Very Best of 2021” list.
My stop today on the @FMcMAssociates #blogtour for #ImpossibleTruths by @HannahBeckerman.
A great big thank you to the author and publisher for an ARC of this book. All thoughts presented are my own.