cover image Unlived Affections

Unlived Affections

George Shannon. HarperCollins Publishers, $12.95 (135pp) ISBN 978-0-06-025304-2

Although Willie, 17, has never stopped asking questions about his parents, he has received very few satisfactory answers. He never knew his father, and little remains to document his mother's existence. His grandmother refuses to discuss details about the family, so it is only after her death that Willie discovers the collection of old letters that provides him with information about the past. Through letters his mother received from his father, Willie finds out about his own conception, his father's realization of his homosexuality and the circumstances of his parents' divorce. Willie is both disturbed and intrigued by the shocking story that unfolds, and he begins to understand his parents' complicated relationship as he shares their most intimate moments of love, grief, anger and compassion. In this framework, Shannon explores how two young men of different generations struggle to find their identities. A wide spectrum of deep emotions is conveyed effectively through Willie's thoughts and the confessions of his father. Willie discovers that the past is indeed intricately tied to the present as he recognizes a kinship with the author of the letters. The narrative of this novel is honest and concise; readers will be moved by the sensitive portrayal of each character and the tragedies they endure. Ages 12-up. (Sept.)