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Families in Fiction?
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Families in Fiction?

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"Happy families are all alike," Leo Tolstoy famously wrote in Anna Karenina. But what about other families in literature? In The New York Times Book Review's Shortlist, Roy Hoffman reviewed several novels that explore family...

"Happy families are all alike," Leo Tolstoy famously wrote in Anna Karenina. But what about other families in literature? In The New York Times Book Review's Shortlist, Roy Hoffman reviewed several novels that explore family dynamics. What are your favorite fictional families?
The New York Times
Jun 17, 2015
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Polly Samson - The Kindness
The New York Times

The Kindness, by Polly Samson

"That a house can not only hold a family but bind the generations is one of the appealing themes in “The Kindness,” Samson’s sumptuous — sometimes to a fault — novel that opens in an English village in 1989, then jumps to 1997 and 2002. Shifting between present and past tense, the story attempts to show how relationships are set atilt, indeed wrecked, by impulsive choices, when there’s an “overruling” of common sense and “primitive instincts were winning.” What holds such shattered bonds together? Julian, a “sensitive soul” who makes a living writing about dogs, hopes it’s Firdaws, the family cottage — lost, then regained — built of “gentle weathered brick and hanging tile,” whose very smell “turned him tender.” No matter that its residents (above all his beloved Julia, mother of their daughter, Mira) feel “hugged” by the bucolic abode — illness, despair and infidelity find their way in."

-Roy Hoffman
Read the full review here.
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