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The Ties that Bind and (Sometimes) Bond
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The Ties that Bind and (Sometimes) Bond

By kileyturner
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tagged: epic, family, saga, history
You know the unique pleasure of immersing yourself in fictional families' joys and sorrows. You're welcome!
Akin

Akin

A Novel
edition:Paperback
also available: eBook Hardcover

In her first contemporary novel since Room, bestselling author Emma Donoghue returns with a brilliant tale of love, loss and family. The life of a retired New York professor is thrown into chaos when he takes his great-nephew to the French Riviera in the hopes of uncovering his own mother’s wartime secrets.

Noah is only days away from his first trip back to Nice since he was a child when he receives an unexpected request. A social worker is looking for a temporary home for Michael, his eleven- …

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Stay Where I Can See You

Stay Where I Can See You

A Novel
edition:eBook
also available: Paperback
tagged : psychological

Does good fortune always change things for the better?

The Kaplan family has just won 10 million dollars in the lottery. But haven’t they always been lucky? Gwen thought so. She’s carefully curated a perfect suburban existence with a loving husband and two children. For over a decade, she’s been a stay-at-home mom, devoted to giving her kids the quiet, protected adolescence she didn’t have. But the surprise windfall suddenly upends the family, allowing them all to dream a little bigger an …

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You Are Not What We Expected

You Are Not What We Expected

edition:eBook
also available: Paperback

This stunningly intimate collection of stories is an exquisite portrait of a Jewish community — the secular and religious families who inhabit it and the tensions that exist there — that illuminates the unexpected ways we remain connected during times of change.
When Uncle Isaac moves back from L.A. to help his sister, Elaine Levine, care for her suddenly motherless grandchildren, he finds himself embroiled in even more drama than he would like in their suburban neighbourhood. Meanwhile, a …

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The Shape of Family

The Shape of Family

A Novel
edition:Paperback

NATIONAL & INTERNATIONAL BESTSELLER

Named a book not to miss by USA Today * Chicago Sun-Times * New York Post

"Deeply involving....Rings so true." -- Emma Donoghue, bestselling author of Room

From the international bestselling author of Secret Daughter and The Golden Son comes a poignant, unforgettable novel about a family's growing apart and coming back together in the wake of tragedy.

The Shape of Family is a novel about race and culture, parents and siblings, marriage and love, but most of all …

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Secret Lives of Mothers & Daughters

Secret Lives of Mothers & Daughters

A Novel
edition:Paperback
also available: eBook Paperback Paperback

A breathtaking novel about the ties that bind mothers and daughters together and the secrets that tear them apart.

Veena, Mala and Nandini are three very different women with something in common. Out of love, each bears a secret that will haunt her life—and that of her daughter—because the risk of telling the truth is too great. But secrets have consequences. Particularly for Asha, a young woman on the cusp of adulthood, who links them together.

After her eighteenth birthday, Asha is devastate …

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Reproduction

Reproduction

edition:Paperback
also available: Hardcover

WINNER OF THE SCOTIABANK GILLER PRIZE
NATIONAL BESTSELLER
A PENGUIN BOOK CLUB PICK
A hilarious, surprising and poignant love story about the way families are invented, told with the savvy of a Zadie Smith and with an inventiveness all Ian Williams' own, Reproduction explores unconventional connections and brilliantly redefines family.

Felicia and Edgar meet as their mothers are dying. Felicia, a teen from an island nation, and Edgar, the lazy heir of a wealthy German family, come together only …

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Excerpt

PART 1
XX + XY
 
LATE SEVENTIES
 

XX

1.
Both of their mothers were dying in the background.
 
 
XY

1.
Both of their mothers were still alive in the background.
 

XX

2.

Before she died her mother was prickly. Before her mother died she was. One more time. Before her mother died she, her mother, was prickly. One more time. Before her mother died she, her mother, prickled her, Felicia.

In the days before she died, her mother flew into unpredictable rages over the littlest things. Felicia said sardines instead of tuna when passing the tin and her mother blasted her.

Why you working yourself up so? Felicia asked.

Because a tuna is a big fish and a sardines is a small fish. A sardines—you hear the nonsense you have me saying?

Her hands vibrated so badly she couldn’t open the tin, the can, the tin.

At the next meal, Felicia didn’t pour tomato sauce quickly enough into a pot, a sauce pan, thereby essentially, judging from her mother’s reaction, assassinating the Archduke.

All the nutrients done gone already, her mother said. We might as well eat hair. You happy with yourself?

Later that evening, up in the room they rented from a Christian lady, a retired British-trained nurse, who stored her medical equipment in two trunks under the window, Felicia took her mother’s blood pressure. It was 190 over 110.

See. You provoking me. You provoking me, man.

Two days later it was 205 over 115. Her mother said it was because she had climbed the stairs. Or it was because because because the machine was broken. But when Felicia measured her own pressure, it was 110 over 60, which, instead of confirming the sphygmomanometer’s reliability, caused her mother to worry and divert the conversation to Felicia’s iron levels. She demanded menstruation details, when, how long, how heavy, what colour. Where could she get good beef — West Indian beef, not from these anemic snow-eating cows. The cast iron pot—the soap Felicia used had wrecked it. Nutrients, her mother said that a lot before she turned into a seahorse and drifted off.

And then over the weekend, her pressure went down to 146 over 90. They both laughed.

I telling you I know what I doing. Don’t feel I don’t know.

Her mother had taken to eating two cloves of garlic at each meal.

Sunday night, after the women wrapped their hair for bed, they leaned against the headboard in their rented room in the Christian woman’s house and excoriated the choir director for favouring the tenors. When her mother fell asleep, Felicia read a little Great Expectations for school. Three pages and she was out.

Her mother woke up and took the bus from Brampton to work in Toronto before she died. Obviously. When else would she take it?

+

Point taken. Yes, and then the office buzzed Felicia during period 4, Home Economics, and told her to bring her things with her, there had been an emergency.

But her mother was not in Emergency at St. Xavier hospital. In fact, Emergency was taped closed. Felicia imagined the worst, that her mother wasn’t simply dead but that a grenade had gone off in her chest and destroyed a section of the hospital. A police officer directed Felicia and a couple with a baby to an alternate entrance.

Felicia found her mother in Palliative, sharing a room with an elderly woman. It was strange to see her mother sleeping in public. She was normally a vigilant woman with chameleon eyes that seemed to move independently from one point of suspicion to another. Now, although they were both closed, she seemed uneasy, perhaps with the fact that her bra had been removed by strangers and her breasts splayed unflatteringly sideways.

Between the two beds, a man stood holding his wrists like the Escher print of hands drawing themselves. It would become his characteristic position. From forehead to jaw, his head was the same width as his neck. From shoulders to feet, he seemed constrained in a tight magic box, ready to be sawed in two. Put together, he comprised two rectangles stacked on each other—a tall, abstract snowman. His pants were wet from the knee down. Despite that, Felicia presumed he was the doctor because he was a man, a white man, a middle-aged white man, wearing a pinstriped shirt, but it turned out he was only a man, a white man, a middle-aged white man, wearing stripes and grip­ping his wrists.

Unconscious, Edgar said.

Unconscious or sleeping? Felicia asked.

Unconscious, he repeated. He presented the woman in the other bed as proof of his medical expertise. My mother. She’s sleeping.

His mother’s mouth was open. There was brown industrial paper towel on her chest to catch the leaking saliva. She gave the impression of needing to be laced up—as if by pulling the strings of a corset one could restore her mouth, her skin, her posture, to their former attentiveness.

She’s not going to make it, Edgar said. He flicked the bag of intravenous solution with his middle finger, then looked for some change to register in his mother. Seconds later, she began coughing. Her cheeks filled with thick liquid as Edgar searched for a cup, her spittoon. Felicia happened to swallow at the same time as his mother and while looking at the lump go down the woman’s throat, she felt the phlegm go down her own. She pulled the collar of her coat tight around her neck.

Felicia turned back to her mother. Her mother was so careful about applying makeup and now there was no trace of it on her. Where were her earrings? Her nail polish looked more crimson than red. Felicia knocked on her knuckles.

You hearing me? Felicia leaned in. You hearing me?

She thought she saw her mother frown. She frowned. Or perhaps it was a deception of light, the passing accident of light reflected from someone’s watch face.

Felicia heard the jaunty jingle of keys behind her.

So what brings your mother here on this fine autumn afternoon?

Without moving the rest of her body, Felicia twisted her cervical vertebrae to see if he was serious.

Mutter, here, couldn’t breathe, he offered. It’s her pneumonia. He put an odd stress on the her as if he were settling a dispute between feuding children: it’s her doll, let her have it. They think the cancer might have spread to her other lung. We’re waiting. It’s not easy. The waiting. Not easy at all. Come on, get in there.

Felicia turned around fully. She hadn’t seen snow since arriving in Canada.

Edgar was slouching in one of the chairs in the middle of the room, organizing his keychain. His hair was the colour of the dried oak leaves around her school.

What do you know? she said.

I’m just telling you how it goes. I’ve been through this once, twice, be—

No, I mean what do you know about my situation?

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