Hart (Lovecraft's New York Circle) focuses on the struggles of her parents, George Kirk and Lucile Dvorak, to maintain both a small New York City bookstore and their marriage in the 1920s and '30s. Her clear portrayal of a largely apathetic Kirk and energetic Dvorak suggests that their valiant effort to keep the Chelsea Book Shop afloat for 12 years may have collapsed even without their economic travails. Anecdotes about Prohibition and covertly stocking Joyce's Ulysses, banned then for sale in the U.S., add luster to her account of bohemian life in 1930s Greenwich Village. Hart is more concerned with a history of her family than of the times, and documents her mother's often contradictory feelings toward Kirk. Although Hart arrives at conclusions about her parents' relationship, she is also able to celebrate the couple's happy times. Perhaps most touching is her realization that one's view of any relationship—whether it be of Kirk's famous friend H.P. Lovecraft or of her own—is necessarily partial and blinkered. The author's concluding note that she will remember what she wishes to remember sustains her conviction that the truth is, indeed, whatever one wants it to be.