The Granta Book of the Family

Granta Books, Author, Michael Ignatieff, Author, Raymond Carver, Author Granta (NY) $24.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-9645611-1-3
Tolstoy's observation that every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way finds resonance in this collection of essays and stories about families, predominantly miserable ones, culled from the British literary magazine Granta, some of which became parts of recent books. Certain of the more interesting selections attest to strained relations between parents and children. Raymond Carver writes about the poverty and alcoholism that defeated his father; Doris Lessing tells of the bitterness that her birth caused her mother. Physical abuse makes for particularly compelling copy: Mikal Gilmore, whose piece about his brother, executed murderer Gary Gilmore, became a section in Shot in the Heart, profoundly explicates the effect of their father's violence on their family; in the most riveting entry, journalist Beverly Lowry links the sadism of an Oklahoma man with his murder by his two young sons. Nearly all the selections deal with mortality and the intense family feeling it provokes: ``Don't underestimate filial grief,'' writes Blake Morrison in a homage to his emotionally unreliable father. Among the other contributors are Saul Bellow, Geoffrey Wolff, Leonard Michaels, Angela Carter, Louise Erdrich, Mona Simpson and Bret Easton Ellis. Overall, this is a fine collection. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 07/31/1995
Release date: 08/01/1995
Genre: Fiction
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