Friday, March 15, 2013

Book Review: Losing Charlotte

In Losing Charlotte, a family deals with the sudden loss of the eldest daughter after she has given birth to twins. In the months that follow, the family tries to adjust. The typically unshakeable father takes to bed, the mother begins planning an elaborate memorial that seems to mark Charlotte's childhood, and the younger sister travels from Kentucky to NYC to help  her brother-in-law care for newborns.

Younger sister, Knox, finds herself plunged into a domestic life she has tried hard to avoid. She suspects her actions are out of guilt, for not being a "good sister." As Knox wrestles with what that means, we get glimpses of their complicated relationship- simultaneously passionately close and, at times, frustratingly distant. Knox tries to understand who her sister was and what she'd thought of their relationship. At the same time, she's trying to figure out who she will become without her sister to measure herself against.

This story does not gloss over grief and end with a tidy, happy resolution. There is truth here and the pain is palpable. You get the sense that these are real people who will deal with the reality of this loss for the rest of their lives.

In an author interview, Heather Clay says she is inspired by: "Anything about that family ache, about what’s unsaid, misunderstood, the simple and tragic passage of time... " That's what she gives her readers with this book.

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