Monday, September 10, 2007

What I'm reading

The Memory Keeper's Daughter. By Kim Edwards.
I put off reading this for a few months, since someone told me that it starts off with a depressing opening: man gives away infant daughter, one of a set of twins, because she has Down syndrome. Well, I figured I was in for a bummer. But it sat on my shelf long enough to make me feel slightly guilty. I picked it up and boy, was I wrong. It took me a bit of time to get used to all the adjectives, since one of the first events is the snowstorm -- rather elaborately described -- in which the main character, David the doctor, delivers his twins. But the characterization is extremely powerful, and I like the structure of dropping in on events as time passes. I also love the symbolic play with photography, light, time, memory. It's a novel that explores choice and consequence, and how much I prefer the novel rather than nonfiction as a vehicle for such exploration. There is no sparing us the grief of loss, the novel says in a clear-eyed way. Ain't that the truth. David's secrecy about his past also resonated for me, having just come back from meeting a heretofore unknown branch of my family in Poland. Branches grow from roots. I loved this book.

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