A Book of the Year in the New Yorker, Time, NPR, Washington Post, People Magazine and Oprah Daily
A taut, groundbreaking new novel about a writer’s relationship with her larger-than-life mother
Ten months after her mother’s death, the narrator of The Hero of This Book walks across London on a quiet Sunday. The city was a favourite of her mother’s, and as the narrator wanders the streets, she finds herself reflecting on her mother’s life and their relationship. Thoughts of the past meld with questions of the future: back in New England, the family home is now up for sale, its considerable contents already winnowed.
The woman, a writer, recalls all that made her complicated mother extraordinary – her brilliant wit, her generosity, her unbelievable obstinacy, her sheer will in seizing life despite physical difficulties – and finds herself wondering how her mother had endured. Even though she wants to respect her mother’s nearly pathological sense of privacy, the woman must come to terms with whether making a chronicle of this remarkable life constitutes an act of love or betrayal.
The Hero of This Book is a searing examination of grief and renewal, and of a deeply felt relationship between a child and her parents. At once comic and heartbreaking, with prose that surprises at every turn, this is a novel of such piercing love and tenderness that we are reminded that art is what remains when all else falls away.