Published by Inanna Publications on Apr. 30, 2014
Genres: Fiction, Novella
Source: TLC Book Tours
All her life, Joy has heard stories of her grandfather, Lorenzo, who saw an incredible vision when he uncovered the remains of a 17th century ship beneath the future site of New York City’s twin towers. Now married to a man who also has ties to that ship, Joy gathers with her extended family at midsummer to celebrate her aunt and uncle’s wedding anniversary.
It has been many years since the family last came together, and as they sit in a restaurant on top of the world — high above the place where Lorenzo had made his discovery long ago– Joy reflects on the tragic death of her cousin decades earlier.
Midsummer is everything I love about novellas. I don’t read them very often, but I tend to really enjoy them when I do. This little book, which can be leisurely read on a sunny afternoon, is really beautiful. For such a short book, Giangrande does a wonderful job of weaving together multiple story lines: the mythology of Joy’s artist grandfather and his vision, the rocky history between her father and his sister Elena, Joy’s past romantic encounters, and the events leading up to her cousin Leonora’s death. Because of the length of this novella, some of these stories are more detailed than others, but the sketchy, broad-stroked manner in which some of the stories are painted worked really well, contributing to the almost mystical feeling of this book.
“Of course, we had told these stories before. Families do this all the time, dusting off their favorite tales, weaving and re-weaving them into newer and more resilient language, bringing them to life again for another generation. Yet a secret life hums under every story we tell because we tell only what we can bear to tell, because this hidden life is the body’s, open only to the beloved who we trust with our deepest hopes, our cries of desperation.”
I highly recommend Midsummer. It’s emotional and beautifully written, and I loved the way it evokes family relationships and the way families pass stories on through the generations, creating a mythology that changes and evolves.
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