Child of My Heart
By Alice McDermott
(Farrar, Straus and Giroux, Hardcover, 9780374121235, 256pp.)
Publication Date: December 1, 2002
List Price: $23.00*
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A young girl's astonishing, poignant first look into the turbulent heart of things
"I had in my care that summer four dogs, three cats, the Moran kids, Daisy, my eight-year-old cousin, and Flora, the toddler child of a local artist. There was also, for a while, a litter of wild rabbits, three of them, that had been left under our back steps.... "
Alice McDermott's haunting and enchanting new work of fiction--her first since the bestselling Charming Billy, winner of the 1998 National Book Award--is narrated by a woman who was born beautiful. Her parents decided that her best chance in life was to marry a wealthy man, so she was raised on the east end of Long Island, among the country houses of the rich. On the cusp of fifteen, she is the town's most sought-after babysitter--cheerful, beloved, a wonder with children and animals, but also a solitary soul with an already complex understanding of human nature--when her favorite cousin, Daisy, comes to spend the summer.
The narrator's witty, piquant, deeply etched evocation of all that was really transpiring under the surface during that seemingly idyllic season gives her wry tale--infused with suppressed passion, disappointment, and enduring hope--its remarkable vividness and impact. Once again, Alice McDermott explores the mysterious depths of what seems like everyday life with unforgettable insight and resonant emotional power.
Alice McDermott's Charming Billy won the National Book Award in 1998. She is the author of three other novels: At Weddings and Wakes, a New York Times Bestseller, That Night; and A Bigamist's Daughter. She lives with her family outside Washington, D.C.
"Magical . . . McDermott's gorgeous novel is laced with sly literary allusions and provocative insights into the enigma of sexual desire, the mutability of art, death's haunting presence, our need for fantasies, and the endless struggle to keep love pure."
-Donna Seamana, Booklist (starred review)