Each of us was fabricating a small, personal consolation. There is nothing more we can do when faced with someone’s death except devise some extenuating circumstances for it, attributing to the deceased one final gesture of thoughtfulness toward us and arranging the coincidences in some rational order.
Like Family is a beautiful tribute that reads more like a memoir than a novel. Giordano himself admits that Mrs. A. truly existed, and from his story we feel we once knew her ourselves.
Surely we know a woman who effected our lives deeply: a mother, grandmother, aunt, teacher, or nanny. Their care of us was less than perfect, but all the more cherished for its intensity.
Mrs. A. comes to care for Nora in her bedridden pregnancy, and she stays to be the nanny for Emanuele once he was born. The home runs smoothly under her ministrations; her strength of character and will demand no less.
When she is too tired to come, one day, and ultimately is diagnosed with cancer, the family understands how much she has meant to each one.
Giordano reflects on this woman’s life, but through a lens in which he also examines his own. It is a beautiful story, which in turn causes me to ponder my own life, remembering those who have held an important place in it. And its publication on December 1, 2015, make it a timely gift for Christmas, which is a time when we are most inclined to think of those who have so deeply touched our lives.
Viking has allowed me to offer a copy of Like Family by Paolo Giordano, who is also the author of The Human Body and The Solitude of Prime Numbers, to a US address only. Please leave a comment indicating your desire should you wish to be entered in the random drawing. I will announce the winner a week from today.