Does having blue eyes mean you will clean compulsively? If you collect things, will you inherit bad skin? Where does science stop and the emotional begin? What is the truth of who we are? These questions lie at the heart of Carole Cadwalladr's compelling debut novel, The Family Tree
When Rebecca Monroemarried to Alistair, a scientist who doesn't believe in fate, but rather genetic dispositiondiscovers that she is pregnant, she begins to question what makes us who we are and whether her own precarious family history will play a role in her future.
For Rebecca, the wry and observant narrator of The Family Tree, simple things said over breakfast take on greater meaning: a home-improvement project foreshadows darker things to come; the color of one's eyes, the slope of a forehead are all missing pieces to the truth behind the family tree.
Moving the story forward are a deeply loving mother who hangs the world on the making of the holiday trifle; an aging hippie aunt who may or may not be having an affair; a sister with an overactive imagination; and a spirited grandmother whose lifelong secret could shake the foundation of the entire family.
At once nostalgic and refreshingly original, The Family Tree is a sophisticated story of one woman and the generations of women who came before her and whose legacy shaped her life and its emotional landscape.
beginning n 1 : time at which anything begins; source; origin
1.1 : fate n 1 : power predetermining events unalterably from eternity
2 : what is destined to happen
3 : doomed to destruction
The caravan entered our lives like Fate. Although from the outside, it looked like a Winnebago.
It appeared one morning in our driveway, an alien spaceship from a planet more exciting than our own. Inside, there was a miniature stove with an eye-level grill, and a fridge that was pretending to be a cupboard. Tiffany and I, experienced sniffers of nail-polish remover, stood on the threshold and inhaled the slightly toxic smell of new upholstery and expectation. I was eight years old and susceptible to the idea that technology could change your life. They said so in the TV ads.
I have a photograph from that day. We're standing in the driveway, smiling, certain, shoulders locked together in a single row. It reminds me of ...
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