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The Memory Keeper's Daughter (2005)

de Kim Edwards

MembresRessenyesPopularitatValoració mitjanaConverses / Mencions
15,602460247 (3.45)1 / 424
On a winter night in 1964, Dr. David Henry is forced by a blizzard to deliver his own twins. His son, born first, is perfectly healthy. Yet when his daughter is born, he sees immediately that she has Down's Syndrome. Rationalizing it as a need to protect Norah, his wife, he makes a split-second decision that will alter all of their lives forever. He asks his nurse to take the baby away to an institution and never to reveal the secret. But Caroline, the nurse, cannot leave the infant. Instead, she disappears into another city to raise the child herself. So begins this beautifully told story that unfolds over a quarter of a century in which these two families, ignorant of each other, are yet bound by the fateful decision made that long-ago winter night.… (més)
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Anglès (449)  Neerlandès (3)  Portuguès (2)  Castellà (2)  Italià (1)  Totes les llengües (457)
Es mostren 1-5 de 457 (següent | mostra-les totes)
Children being treated like meat puppets, disabled children being lesser, unwanted, cheating spouses and gawdlike doctors...spare me.

Very mawkish writing, quite clearly aiming to Be Emotional and Send A Message:
You can't stop time. You can't capture light. You can only turn your face up and let it rain down.
–and–
She imagined herself as some sort of vessel to be filled up with love. But it wasn't like that. The love was within her all the time, and its only renewal came from giving it away.
Pleased for you if this guff makes you happy. It does not make me anything but irked. ( )
  richardderus | Jan 24, 2021 |
Leading a life based on lies, small and one particularly large one, David Henry and his family have to live with themselves -- and are missing out on their personal growth because they do not raise their daughter with Downs' syndrome. ( )
  WiebkeK | Jan 21, 2021 |
Can't remember why but I did not like this novel. Says a lot really. Library copy, thank goodness.
  Teresa1966 | Dec 22, 2020 |
Much better than expected. Good writing, fascinating plot, successful use of multiple narrators. Though this was definitely a plot-driven novel and I sped through wanting to know how everything was resolved, it was also a relatively quiet book that focused on all of the characters' inner lives. My only wish was that Phoebe, the daughter in question, had been allowed to "speak". Though that may have been pretty ambitious and possibly out of the author's range (since Phoebe has Down's Syndrome). Maybe it would have ended up being too gimmicky. Or possibly it was because this book wasn't really her story; it was really her parents' story. Overall, a good read that I'd recommend. ( )
  JustZelma | Dec 20, 2020 |
As is often the case with "literary fiction", I find that this book probably requires a very close similarity of some areas of interest and opinion on things between the author and a reader to really find the subject matter itself interesting. Also as is often the case with "literary fiction", I find that this novel's narrative voice suffers from a very heavy hand in its pretentions of depth and import. Finally, as is often the case with "literary fiction", I at some times found it annoying, and at others terribly dull.

I read the first three chapters before I found it simply was unlikely to be worth my time to finish it. It was not excruciating, so I decided to give it one last chance by reading the last three chapters, to see if it had enough going for it in the final pages to justify reading the middle. In doing so, I discovered some after-matter that shed some light on what the middle of the book contained, too. What I found in those last three chapters and the after-matter was hints that the middle may have been interesting, with turns in it that lent character development drama to the thing, but the end itself was so neatly packaged, lacking in punch, and generally tired out, that it did not motivate me to read about the twists of people's lives when in the end I'd be less than thrilled to have it all come to naught. My impression is that the author set out to write a book about how secrets and lies hurt people, and how the truth heals, but the end result seems like it might at best have offered some interesting character development based on emotional damage that got chopped off like the unwanted end of a green onion because of a facile, trite, and at the same time dull and empty "now that they know everything's going to be milquetoast-happy" resolution. It seems like eating a salty dinner then expecting ice cream for dessert, but getting stale white bread with water instead.

(I don't even like green onions.)

The beginning was overburdened with the word "white". This author is in love with adjectives, quite obsessively, and though it got gentler by the last three chapters the first three were just overbearing, and by far the favorite adjective seemed to be the word "white", far beyond any sense or reason. The word "snow" got mentioned so many times -- often in conjunction with "white", such that one wonders how intent the author was to ensure we did not think it would be yellow snow -- that it acted as a constant distraction, pulling me out of the narrative like every-few-seconds radio interference from another station distracts a listener from a favorite song (sorry for those who are too young and lucky to have encountered that radio station interference effect, and thus might not get my simile). At one point, I had to put the book down and walk away for a bit just to get over the wry laughter when, after all the mentions of literal snow in the book, the author threw in a metaphorical reference to snow representing something else entirely, as if she had zero conscious recognition of the fact she had beaten the snow to death already.

As a character in an old sitcom once said, this book's prose was only as pure as the driven snow if by "driven" you mean it had a few tire tracks in it.

Now let's consider the fact that I found it very difficult to sympathize with any of the characters in the beginning except for a seemingly random trucker toward the end of the first three chapters, who would then leave the book again. Apparently he returned later and became kind of a big deal as a supporting character, but I would probably have lost some of my ability to sympathize with him considering he evidently found one of those unsympathetic characters interesting enough to -- well, I'll leave that hanging, because it might be a spoiler.

As I intimated earlier, those last three chapters are slightly less afflicted by purple prose, and that's a nice improvement, but the dramatic tension in them was mostly nonexistent. White was not nearly as big a participant in those final chapters, and the same can be said of snow. Other colors, which got ignored in the early chapters even in cases when someone so adjective-obsessed as the author had wonderful excuses to mention them, seemed to be allowed in the story in those last chapters, which was a nice improvement, lending some sense of actual descriptive narrative rather than the early chapters' bludgeoning repetition as if I had not already seen the previous forty mentions of whiteness. If only the ending was not so dull, I might have given the book a chance, going so far as to read the middle.

If I assume that the middle of the book was brilliant (which, I think, is probably a far more generous allowance than my experience suggests), it's probably best to skip the first three chapters and the last two chapters; the third-to-last might be useful as an ending to the middle. I'm not sure doing the same to the first three chapters and the last two that Norah did to the photographs in those last chapters (almost a spoiler, there) would produce an intelligible, complete story, though, so even that probably isn't worth the time.

In short, I definitely don't recommend this novel. It's a colossal waste of time, as far as I've seen, and kind of infuriating in the beginning to someone who really appreciates good descriptive prose and characters who make sense in a way that entices the reader to give a crap about them. ( )
  apotheon | Dec 14, 2020 |
Es mostren 1-5 de 457 (següent | mostra-les totes)
Kim Edwards's debut novel is a winner, and those who read THE MEMORY KEEPER'S DAUGHTER are going to want to read her next one. Highly recommended.
 

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They'd live their lives day by day, each one taking them another step away from their lost daughter.
... when he slid his arms around her again, he was thinking, I love you. I love you so much, and I lied to you. And the distance between them, millimeters only, the space of a breath, opened up and deepened, became a cavern at whose edge he stood.
Their lost daughter still hovered between them; their lives had shaped themselves around her absence.
She did not know that her discarded clothes fluttered in a wind that he himself had set in motion so many years ago.
This was the grief he had carried with him, heavy as a stone in his heart. This was the grief he had tried to spare Norah and Paul, only to create so many others.
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Wikipedia en anglès (3)

On a winter night in 1964, Dr. David Henry is forced by a blizzard to deliver his own twins. His son, born first, is perfectly healthy. Yet when his daughter is born, he sees immediately that she has Down's Syndrome. Rationalizing it as a need to protect Norah, his wife, he makes a split-second decision that will alter all of their lives forever. He asks his nurse to take the baby away to an institution and never to reveal the secret. But Caroline, the nurse, cannot leave the infant. Instead, she disappears into another city to raise the child herself. So begins this beautifully told story that unfolds over a quarter of a century in which these two families, ignorant of each other, are yet bound by the fateful decision made that long-ago winter night.

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Mitjana: (3.45)
0.5 17
1 163
1.5 29
2 453
2.5 115
3 1405
3.5 289
4 1456
4.5 108
5 643

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