Dani Shapiro is probably well-known to most regular TSP readers; her latest book, Devotion, inspired a wonderful blog-friendship between her and our very own Sister Margaret. But thanks to a dear friend (who happens to be a guy – who says you have to be female to be sisterly?) I discovered her earlier novel, Black and White, and made it my first beach read of the summer. Do you need a book to tote along? Read on.
Black and White tells the story of Clara Brodeur and her mother, Ruth Dunne, a famed art photographer. Mother and daughter have been estranged for years after Clara rebelled against being her mother’s primary subject, in a series of provocative, controversial nudes that Ruth insisted on creating well into Clara’s adolescence.
It’s Clara’s older sister, Robin, a successful attorney, who summons Clara back to New York from her home in small-town Maine: Ruth is terminally ill. Tbe sisters’ relationship is nearly as fraught as that of mother and daughter, and Clara’s reentry into her family’s world provokes conflict among all three women. I won’t say more, but if you’re looking for a thought-and-emotion-provoking read about the painful limits of love, family and obligation, Black and White is a beautifully written, utterly engaging choice.
I’m now fully on the Dani Shapiro bandwagon, and need to pick my next of her books. What should I dive into next? And what’s at the top of your tote bag? Need more? We’ve got other summer reading suggestions, too!