By Dani Shapiro
(Knopf, Hardcover, 9780375415470, 288pp.)
Publication Date: April 1, 2003
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From the author of the best-selling memoir Slow Motion (“Chilling . . . her vision is unblinking”—New York Times Book Review; “Riveting . . . a breathtaking combination of candor and bravado”—San Francisco Chronicle), a ferociously paced new novel about a woman losing control of her life, her marriage, and her kids, and discovering that you can do everything right and still find the world you’ve made slipping away.
Rachel Jensen has it all: a husband she adores, challenging work in art restoration, a terrific teenage daughter, and a new baby on the way. Then her infant son is injured in an accident in her daughter’s arms, and that accident begets a terrifying lie. Set in a small Massachusetts town, Family History is about a family spiraling toward disintegration, the terrible force of guilt in children, and a mother’s nightmarish realization that she cannot protect her own child.
As the life the Jensens have so carefully built begins its slow collapse, we see with excruciating clarity the frailty of our strongest allegiances and the precarious ledge upon which our most vital relations—marriage, parenthood—are balanced. Family History blazes through this intimate and highly charged territory with stunning velocity, and marks a bold new step forward for the prodigiously gifted Dani Shapiro.
Dani Shapiro is the author of three acclaimed novels, Playing with Fire, Fugitive Blue, and Picturing the Wreck, and the best-selling memoir Slow Motion. She teaches in the graduate writing program at The New School, and has written for The New Yorker, Granta, Elle, and Ploughshares, among other magazines. She lives with her husband and son in Litchfield County, Connecticut.