How fully could you welcome a housekeeper/nanny into your home? For the unnamed narrator of this novel, his wife, and their son, Mrs. A soon becomes indispensable, not just in practical matters but also in smoothing out the family dynamics.
On my thirty-fifth birthday, Mrs. A. abruptly gave up the determination that in my eyes characterized her more than any other quality and, already laid out in a bed that by then seemed too big for her body, finally abandoned the world we all know.—Like Family by Paolo Giordano (Pamela Dorman Books, 2015, p. 1) [And, yes, I shared this same quote last week.]
- Setting: modern times; Italy
- Circumstances: When a young woman's first pregnancy becomes difficult, the family hires Mrs. A to help out. After the baby is born, the older woman stays on, becoming an integral part of domestic life. How much she is "like family" becomes especially clear when she's diagnosed with cancer.
- Characters: the unnamed male narrator; Nora, his wife; Emanuele, their son; Mrs. A
- Genre: literary fiction; in translation
- Themes: family, marriage, parenting, friendship, love, mortality
- Thoughts: A beautifully written slip of a book with an emotional depth that will capture your attention from beginning to end. This snapshot of an ordinary family and marriage reveals its secrets layer by layer in a perfect tempo. Like Family is a don't-miss read and a contender for my best of 2015 list.
"What do you miss most about her?" I asked [Nora].The Giveaway
"I miss the way she encouraged us. People are so stingy with their encouragement. They just want to be sure you're more needy than they are. . . . Not her, she was always rooting for us." (p. 16)
Thanks to Penguin Random House, in celebration of today's release of Paolo Giordano's Like Family, I'm happy to be able to offer one of my readers with a U.S. mailing address a copy of this short novel. All you have to do to be entered for a chance to win is to fill out the following form. I'll pick a winner, via a random number generator, on December 10. Once the winner has been confirmed and I've passed the name and address along to the publisher, I'll erase all personal information from my computer. Good luck!