Acclaimed novelist Power’s lovely debut memoir is peppered with recipes, marking a life lived for culinary adventure — she sold sandwiches on the streets of Rio and rolled sushi at a Japanese restaurant. Through marriages and divorces, children and family mental illness, food stays in focus.
Sixteen years ago, Joan Wickersham’s father shot himself in the head. Struggling to understand why, she created an alphabetical index to sift through the details of his life and death, studying everything from his business failures to her mother’s friendship with another man. The result is an unsettling if incomplete picture — her father didn’t leave a note — of how little we really know about our loved ones.
Blackburn chronicles her disturbing relationship with her mother, a sex-crazed eccentric (she preyed on the male boarders living in the family lodge), who treated her daughter as a romantic rival. Miraculously Blackburn’s poetic, poignant journal entries, written at age 51 during the month leading up to her mother’s death, punctuate her memories with the power of forgiveness.