The Things We Keep

Sally Hepworth. St. Martin’s, $25.99 (352p) ISBN 978-1-250-05190-5
Hepworth’s second novel (after The Secrets of Midwives) explores issues of self-determination and identity through an unconventional tearjerker of a love story. Diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s at 39, Anna has made the difficult decision to move into a residential care facility. Though she’s mostly surrounded by senior citizens, there’s one other self-described “young person, old mind”: Luke, who suffers from frontotemporal dementia. The two immediately bond over their unlikely shared circumstance, and eventually their friendship moves into romance. But as Anna’s condition worsens, the question of whether she is capable of relationships, or of falling in love, comes into question, and her family insists that she and Luke be kept apart. The home’s new cook, Eve, is charmed by Luke and Anna’s tale of star-crossed love, and she vows to help them at any cost—but her understanding of the potential dangers is incomplete, and facilitating their romance could put more than just her job in jeopardy. The story’s nonlinear structure, designed to mimic Anna’s disorientation, cleverly obscures a few reveals that color the reader’s perception of the dilemma at hand, and while none of these reveals are particularly surprising, they’re no less heartbreaking. A supporting cast of quirky old folks and Eve’s precocious daughter add levity to a poignant and nuanced story. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 11/02/2015
Release date: 01/19/2016
Genre: Fiction
Compact Disc - 978-1-4272-6786-3
Open Ebook - 352 pages - 978-1-4668-5264-8
Downloadable Audio - 978-1-4272-6785-6
Hardcover - 484 pages - 978-1-4104-8686-8
Paperback - 368 pages - 978-1-250-05192-9
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