The Roots of the Olive Tree LP
By Courtney Miller Santo
(HarperLuxe, Paperback, Large Print, 9780062201386, 448pp.)
Publication Date: August 2012
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Meet the Keller family, five generations of firstborn women living together in the same house on a secluded olive grove in Northern California.
Anna, the matriarch, is 112 and determined to become the oldest person in the world. She rules the family home she shares with her daughter Bets, granddaughter Callie, great-granddaughter Deb, and great-great-granddaughter Erin. Though they lead ordinary lives, there is an element of the extraordinary to these women: all are defying longevity norms. Their unusual lifespans have caught the attention of a geneticist who believes they hold the key to breakthroughs in the aging process.
But Anna is not interested. She believes there are some truths that must stay hidden. Each of the Keller women conceals their true self from the others. While they are bound by blood, living together has not always been easy. And it is about to become more complicated now that Erin, the youngest, is back. Her return and the arrival of the geneticist who has come to study them ignites explosive emotions that these women have kept buried and uncovers revelations that will shake them to their roots.
Courtney Miller Santo grasped the importance of stories from listening to her great-grandmother, who lives in Northern California. She learned to write stories in the journalism program at Washington and Lee University and then discovered the limits of true stories working as a reporter in Virginia. She teaches creative writing at the University of Memphis, where she earned her MFA. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in The Los Angeles Review, Irreantum, Sunstone, and Segullah. She lives in Tennessee with her husband, two children, and dog. Her most prized possession is a photo of five generations of the women in her own family.