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Edwards's assured but schematic debut novel (after her collection, The Secrets of a Fire King) hinges on the birth of fraternal twins, a healthy boy and a girl with Down syndrome, resulting in the father's disavowal of his newborn daughter. A snowstorm immobilizes Lexington, Ky., in 1964, and when young Norah Henry goes into labor, her husband, orthopedic surgeon Dr. David Henry, must deliver their babies himself, aided only by a nurse. Seeing his daughter's handicap, he instructs the nurse, Caroline Gill, to take her to a home and later tells Norah, who was drugged during labor, that their son Paul's twin died at birth. Instead of institutionalizing Phoebe, Caroline absconds with her to Pittsburgh. David's deception becomes the defining moment of the main characters' lives, and Phoebe's absence corrodes her birth family's core over the course of the next 25 years. David's undetected lie warps his marriage; he grapples with guilt; Norah mourns her lost child; and Paul not only deals with his parents' icy relationship but with his own yearnings for his sister as well. Though the impact of Phoebe's loss makes sense, Edwards's redundant handling of the trope robs it of credibility. This neatly structured story is a little too moist with compassion.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Critics roundly applaud Kim Edwardss debut novel, The Memory Keepers Daughter, which plays into one of our largest fears: What happens when a baby is born with Down syndrome? Edwards, an award-winning short-story writer, extends this question even further: What happens if this baby somehow "disappears" without the mothers knowledge? The Memory Keepers Daughter explores deception, family secrets, the influence of the past on the present, our tendency to rationalize poor decisions, and the tenuous nature of human connections. In her sympathetic rendering of parallel stories, Edwards crafts a riveting "study in what really determines a familys happiness" (Washington Post). Critics praised Edwardss prose, which "takes on the cadence of poetry" as she describes her psychologically burdened characters (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette). Yet while the Chicago Tribune admired the absence of "sticky-sweet" moments, the Washington Post noted a few times when Edwards slipped "into the treacly trade." But if these minor flaws, combined with abrupt transitions, sometimes slow down the narrative, The Memory Keepers Daughter packs a hefty emotional punch that will keep readers turning the pages.
Copyright © 2004 Phillips & Nelson Media, Inc.See all Editorial Reviews
Engrossing from the beginning. Not your usual plot or character development. It held my interest.Published 22 days ago by Ann Stephens
I read Kim Edwards Lake of Dreams a couple of summers ago and finally got around to ordering her first book, The Memory Keeper's Daughter is an engrossing read of lives forever... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Jazzersuz
Oh my. I had read The Memory Keeper's Daughter on my iPad. I was so deeply moved I needed to buy the physical book.Published 1 month ago by VIP - a Customer!
Interesting premise. The book could have used a good editor to eliminate some of the superfluous descriptions, metaphors, and silver light shining on everything. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Betty S. Deckard