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Immediate Family

Immediate Family

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It might deal with a lot of weighty issues, but the author's style of writing is beautifully descriptive. What follows is a heartfelt letter addressed to Danny and an exploration of their years growing up and the distance now between them. First published in 1992, As well as causing a fair amount of controversy, Immediate Family has been lauded by critics as one of the great photography books of our time, and among the most influential. Recently, I had the opportunity to speak with Nelson Levy herself, and to learn more about the manner in which Immediate Family came about. Nuanced and generously rendered, Levy’s novel brings up issues—such as infertility, bullying, overt and subtle forms of racism, addiction, language barriers, and cultural misunderstandings—that often characterize the real experience of adoption but, for some reason, rarely find their place in literary portrayals.

She was nine years old when she travelled with her parents to Thailand to meet her brother Danny, and while their childhood in California was a happy one, when she holds their story up to the light, it refracts in ways she doesn’t expect. She interrogates both basic plots – adoption as a trope in Victorian novels, and infertility narratives in the Bible – as she works her way towards the present day and the speech she has promised to give to fill in for Danny’s best man. A couple working as chauffeurs have been accused of stealing millions from the founder of Tin House Books. I should have recognized my own discomfort, misunderstood for love or protection or sparing your feelings. There are some interesting narrative choices that the author makes—at times the narrator refers to her husband as “my husband” but at times, when she’s addressing her brother, she says “your brother-in-law.Taken against the Arcadian backdrop of her woodland summer home in Virginia, Sally Mann’s extraordinary, intimate photographs of her children reveal truths that embody the individuality of her own family yet ultimately take on a universal quality. Levy flees from dialogue, and the exchanges that do appear are not demarked by quotation marks, which, to be sure, is an affectation not unique to Ms. I put in two of my fave books, Cloud Cuckoo Land and Groundskeeping, and this book came up as a recommendation on both so I had to check it out.

Boldly embracing life’s entanglements, Levy’s novel is a work of powerful, life-affirming generosity. The heartfelt bond with her brother expands the narrator’s understanding of her hometown, and how she and Danny experience it in fundamentally different ways. Many explore typical childhood activities at the family's remote summer cabin along the Maury River (skinny dipping, reading the funnies, dressing up, vamping, napping, playing board games) but others touch on darker themes such as insecurity, loneliness, injury, sexuality and death. This is the way we carry trauma, in our bones, in our essential material; I believe it’s also the way we carry ecstasy. Jeff Ferrell described this as “cultural criminalisation”, as the media manipulated public conceptions of cultural works, delegitimising artists like Mann, despite legal actions never being having brought against her.As a teen, Danny begins charging expensive items to their parents’ credit card without permission, which strains the family financially. All in all, it’s a unique read that shows how similar and how different each family’s struggles can be. I’ve had personal experiences with a few themes in the novel and I found the facts and feelings to be spot on.

We lived in a place where children grew up and stayed, multiplying to keep the Catholic school running, and I longed to escape a cycle. In the back of the folder is a sandwich bag that holds his Purple Heart, and a note from a woman in Potlatch, Idaho, thanking our father for letting her know how her fiancé died, what a relief it had been that he went honorably and without pain. Starting with the events leading up to her brother’s adoption, the narrator pieces together the most formative periods of her family’s life. In 2015, she cofounded Transit Books, an independent publishing house with a focus on international literature.AS OUR DEPARTURE NEARED, our mother cooked her way through the Thai recipe book she’d found at a garage sale. Asked by Danny to make a speech at his wedding reception, the narrator spends the entirety of the novel reflecting on her brother’s life in a nonlinear fashion.



  • Fruugo ID: 258392218-563234582
  • EAN: 764486781913
  • Sold by: Fruugo

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