Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Rachel Seiffert's top 10 books about troubled families

Rachel Seiffert is the author, most recently, of the novel Afterwards.

She named a "top 10 books about troubled families" list for the Guardian.

Her prefatory remarks, followed by one title on the list:
All of my books so far have dealt with families, most of them less than ideal. Families are endlessly fascinating: the basic unit of most human societies, we often want to escape our own, create a new, better version, or maybe crave an earlier, lost time when the unit we were in made us happy in a way it just doesn't anymore.... The [listed] books mine this rich seam of humour and pain. All of humanity is here, in miniature...:

The Speckled People by Hugo Hamilton

A memoir of Hamilton's childhood, caught between languages and cultures. He grew up in 1950s Dublin with a German mother and Irish father. His Dad was a nationalist, and insisted - often violently - upon Gaelic being spoken by his boys; his mother couldn't escape Germany and all its 20th-century baggage. It's a painful read - how could it not be, covering that territory? But this is no mere misery memoir, it's full of the most beautiful writing.
Read more about Seiffert's list.

--Marshal Zeringue