All in the Family: 5 Books About Our Most Complicated Relationships

Absentee fathers, isolated sisters, dangerously devoted wives—these books tackle them all

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"The Romanov Sisters: The Lost Lives of the Daughters of Nicholas and Alexandra"

by Helen Rappaport; St. Martin's Press

 

In this biography of Olga, Tatiana, Maria and Anastasia Romanov—Russian grand duchesses and daughters of Nicholas II—historian Helen Rappaport expertly combines the sisters’ previously unpublished letters and diary entries with extensively researched facts about the doomed children of Russia’s last czar. The result is an enthralling work of historical nonfiction that reads like a suspense novel.

 

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"The Removers"

by Andrew Meredith; Scribner

 

Despite a strained relationship with his father, the author takes a job working with him as a “remover”—someone who transports the bodies of people who die at home. The gruesome work proves educational, and in this coming-of-age memoir, he recaps what he learned: The brain is the last part of the body to burn in cremation. Adult ashes weigh about seven pounds. And everyone, even his father, deserves forgiveness.

 

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"Stars Go Blue"

by Laura Pritchett; Counterpoint

 

Ben Cross has made a decision: He’s going to end his life before his early-stage Alzheimer’s can do it for him. But first he’s going to brave a Rocky Mountain blizzard to exact revenge on the man who killed his daughter. In this evocative novel, Ben’s estranged wife sets out on her own final act of devotion—to survive the storm and bring her husband home. 

 

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"Unstill Life: A Daughter's Memoir of Art and Love in the Age of Abstraction"

by Gabrielle Selz; WW Norton

 

As the daughter of “Mr. Modern Art” Peter Selz, a former chief curator at the Museum of Modern Art, writer Gabrielle Selz grew up with unparalleled access to celebrated artists of the 1960s and 1970s. This memoir is, as she says, “a history of the moments we lived through, when art and life came together and defined one another.”

 

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"Gone Feral: Tracking My Dad Through the Wild"

by Novella Carpenter; The Penguin Press

 

Novella Carpenter’s father has lived in seclusion since he and her mother divorced when Novella was a child. But when he actually goes missing—not just from her life but from the small Idaho town where he lives—she realizes her time to find him, and know him, is limited. In this brave memoir, the author recounts her attempts to finally, fully unearth the story of her family that is hidden deep within her reclusive father.

 

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Next: 6 Fresh Summer Reads

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