From the author of What Species of Creatures, Sharon Kirsch, comes The Smallest Objective, an intricate and melancholy personal memoir about a daughter's last days with her mother, the hidden recesses of family history, and the treasures that the past can bring in the face of a difficult present.
Having moved her elderly mother into a care home, the author of The Smallest Objective must now empty the family home of half a century, discovering as she does so a series of small objects that unlock her family's past: a lantern slide, a faded recipe book, a postcard from Mexico, a nugget of fool's gold.
With the object of saving off grief while attending to her mother's final days, Sharon embarks on a quest to retrieve the origin and circumstances surrounding each of these articles. Along the way, she discovers the stories of several early- to mid-century Montreal Jewish personalities — a Runyonesque hustler, a Lithuanian botanist, and a self-made young woman — as well as the extent to which they were punctured and shaped by the muffled anti-Semitism of the time.
The Smallest Objective examines the minutiae of lives lived, our concern for senior members of our family, the time we need to sift, take stock, and filter out the important things, and the consolation offered by staying close to loved ones even when we can't reach them.