Mother of sorrows / Richard McCann.

With the breadth and cumulative force of a novel, this book presents ten interwoven stories of an American family in the post-World War II suburbs of Washington, D.C., a world of identical brick houses and sunstruck, treeless lawns, a world of initial hopefulness from which shame and loss have seemi...

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Bibliographic Details
Main Author: McCann, Richard.
Format: Book
Language:English
Published: New York : Vintage Books, 2006, ©2005.
Edition:1st Vintage Contemporaries ed.
Subjects:
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

Though it is a work of fiction, this slim volume of interconnected stories a collection 18 years in the making by the codirector of the graduate program in creative writing at American University reads like a memoir; an unnamed first-person narrator leads the reader through meticulously constructed scenes from his past, musing on self, sexual identity and family dynamics. The earliest chapters are set in a suburb of Washington, D.C., in the 1950s. The narrator is a child, growing up gay in classic fashion, obsessed with his glamorous mother and chastised by his father for things like "cutting out Winnie Winkle fashion dolls from the Sunday funnies or designing elaborate ball gowns for my favorite movie stars." When he dresses in his mother's clothes with another boy, he is caught; a fishing expedition with his father is a failure. The narrator's transition into adulthood is hardly any easier: his father dies young; his brother, Davis, also gay, is arrested several times and eventually dies of a drug overdose. And in the final section, the narrator is revealed to have AIDS, a disease that has claimed the lives of many friends. McCann's calm, elegiac prose is lovely in descriptive passages, but turns stiff and self-conscious in the frequent explanations the narrator offers for his behavior and that of others. Still, McCann's graceful writing carries these bittersweet snapshots of a life plagued by self-doubt and yearning. Agent, Gail Hochman. (Apr. 26) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved