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In the Family Way: A Novel

Hays, Tommy

Editore: Random House, 1999
ISBN 10: 0812992474 / ISBN 13: 9780812992472
Usato / Quantità: 1
Da Nearfine Books (Brooklyn, NY, U.S.A.)
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Titolo: In the Family Way: A Novel

Casa editrice: Random House

Data di pubblicazione: 1999

Condizione libro: very good


Gently used. Expect delivery in 2-3 weeks. Codice inventario libreria 9780812992472-3

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"Two weeks after my brother Mitchell was killed, my mother finally emerged from her bedroom, hair uncombed, eyes puffy and wide. She said nothing to us, who watched her cross the floor to the bathroom, where she emptied the medicine cabinet. She stepped into the living room holding a waste can full of medicine bottles and announced that she had become a Christian Scientist. . . . I didn't know what Christian Science was, but I could see it had enabled my mother to walk from her bedroom and speak to us, and I was grateful for that."
In early 1960s South Carolina, Jeru Lamb is ten years old and trying to come to terms with his brother's death.    He's also trying to understand his mother's conversion to Christian Science, his father's literary ambitions (and       recent calling as "a Waffle House mystic"), the racial landscape of the segregated South, and a new classmate from the wrong side of town who claims to be his half-sister. "It was not lost on me that by expecting the worst every breathing moment, I backed into prophecy once in a while," says Jeru, and when his mother finds herself "in the family way"--against her doctor's orders--Jeru is left to wonder just what he might lose next.

Tommy Hays's first novel, Sam's Crossing, won accolades from critics nationwide. The New York Times Book Review called it "touching and funny--and revealing of the intricate workings of the human heart." The San Francisco Chronicle said it was "witty and engaging . . . [a novel that] explores the risks and rewards--vulnerability, compromise, intimacy and strength--of love." In the Family Way shows the maturation of this talented writer as he depicts, with heartbreaking simplicity, the end of things we love and the extraordinary capacity to begin again. And in Jeru Lamb he has created an engaging young narrator who takes us to the center of his world and its generous secrets.

From the Hardcover edition.

Recensione: Tommy Hays is a Southerner writing a novel about a quirky Southern childhood; consequently he has a lot of literary ghosts to reckon with. Given this, it's remarkable that In the Family Way is as original as it is. The narrator of the story is Jeru Lamb, a 10-year-old growing up in Greenville, South Carolina. He's an overweight, clumsy boy full of end-of-the-world fears. The roots of Jeru's insecurity can be traced to the dog attack that killed his older brother Mitchell. While Jeru ran ahead, the animal tore Mitchell to pieces. "When Mitchell sees the German Shepherd gain on me, he drops back, and I run past him. He holds out his opened hand to the dog. I hear him speak; the words seem to be whispered right in my ear. 'Here boy, come here boy, it's all right.'"

Mitchell's death gives weight and density to Jeru's story; his guilt and anxiety are ever present, even at the book's most throwaway, sentimental moments. Beautiful passages illuminate the boy's awkward attempts to be a good kid, to calm his obsession with doom. "It was not lost on me that by expecting the worst every breathing moment, I backed into prophecy once in awhile." When President Kennedy is assassinated, or when his pseudo-philosopher father almost leaves the family, Jeru can't help but think that he saw it all coming, that somehow he has always known that the world is a violent, abandoned place. Dog attacks, race riots, dead presidents, dead brothers--these misfortunes pile up one by one. As he grows older, Jeru wishes that the world would stop, that the dog would have halted in its tracks, and that his family would be released from the past's dark spell. Tommy Hays skillfully evokes this unrelenting longing in tight, cinematic scenes--the kind of prose best read aloud in a deep Southern drawl. --Emily White

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