A taut, groundbreaking new novel from bestselling and award-winning author Elizabeth McCracken, about a writer’s relationship with her larger-than-life mother – and about the very nature of writing, memory, and love
Ten months after her mother’s death, the narrator of The Hero of This Book takes a trip to London. The city was a favourite of her mother’s, and as the narrator walks from Clerkenwell to the London Eye, from Tate Modern to the Bridge Theatre, she finds herself reflecting on her mother’s life and their relationship. Thoughts of the past meld with questions of the future: back in New England, the family home is now for sale, its considerable contents already winnowed.
The woman, a writer, recalls all that made her complicated mother extraordinary – her brilliant wit, her generosity, her unbelievable obstinacy, her sheer will in seizing life despite physical difficulties – and finds herself wondering how her mother had endured. Even though she wants to respect her mother’s nearly pathological sense of privacy, the woman must come to terms with whether making a chronicle of this remarkable life constitutes an act of love or betrayal.
The Hero of This Book is a searing examination of grief and renewal, and of a deeply felt relationship between a child and her parents. What begins as a question of filial devotion ultimately becomes a lesson in what it means to write. At once comic and heartbreaking, with prose that delights at every turn, this is a novel of piercing love and tenderness.