What We Keep
By Elizabeth Berg
(Ballantine Books, Paperback, 9780345423290, 304pp.)
Publication Date: May 25, 1999
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Do you ever really know your mother, your daughter, the people in your family? In this rich and rewarding new novel by the beloved bestselling author of
Talk Before Sleep and The Pull of the Moon, a reunion between two sisters and their mother reveals how the secrets and complexities of the past have shaped the lives of the women in a family.
Ginny Young is on a plane, en route to see her mother, whom she hasn't seen or spoken to for thirty-five years. She thinks back to the summer of 1958, when she and her sister, Sharla, were young girls. At that time,a series of dramatic events--beginning with the arrival of a mysterious and sensual next-door neighbor--divided the family, separating the sisters from their mother. Moving back and forth in time between the girl she once was and the woman she's become, Ginny at last confronts painful choices that occur in almost any woman's life, and learns surprising truths about the people she thought she knew best.
Emotional honesty and a true understanding of people and relationships are combined in this moving and deeply satisfying new book by the novelist who
"writes with humor and a big heart about resilience, love and hope. And the transcendence that redeems" (Andre Dubus).
Elizabeth Berg’s novels Open House, The Pull of the Moon, Range of Motion, What We Keep, Never Change, and Until the Real Thing Comes Along were bestsellers. Durable Goods and Joy School were selected as ALA Best Books of the Year. Talk Before Sleep was an ABBY finalist and a New York Times bestseller. In 1997, Berg won the NEBA Award in fiction, and in 2000 her novel Open House was named an Oprah’s Book Club selection. She lives in Chicago.
"Berg knows the hearts of her characters intimately, showing them with compassion, humor, and an illuminating generosity."
--The Seattle Times
"PICK UP ELIZABETH BERG'S WHAT WE KEEP, A SMALL BOOK WITH A HUGE HEART."
--New York Newsday
"BEAUTIFULLY WRITTEN . . . What We Keep is about ties that are buried but not broken, wounds that are dressed but never heal, and love that changes form but somehow survives. . . . [Ginny Young] crosses the country for a reluctant reunion with the mother she has not seen in 35 years. During the long hours of her flight, she returns in memory to the summer when she turned 12 and her family turned inside out. . . . Berg's tender depiction of a young girl's view of the world is uncanny and gives this story its heart. She captures perfectly what it was like to grow up in the '50s, presenting it like a long-forgotten, but still sharp photograph. . . . What We Keep will touch you. It will allow you, for a few hours, to see the world through the eyes of a 12-year-old and feel in your adult heart the stubborn endurance of love."
"BERG'S FIFTH NOVEL IS ONE OF HER MOST COMPELLING. . . . Berg limns the character with such vivid detail, and such honesty, that reading the book is like having an intimate conversation with a friend who is baring her soul. . . . An excellent book to savor and pass on to a mother, a sister, or a close friend."
--Charleston Post and Courier
“COMPELLING . . . Berg limns the character with such vivid detail, and such honesty, that reading the book is like having an intimate conversation with a friend who is baring her soul. . . . An excellent book to savor and pass on to a mother, a sister, or a close friend.”
—Charleston Post and Courier