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The Resource Akin : a novel, Emma Donoghue

Akin : a novel, Emma Donoghue

Label
Akin : a novel
Title
Akin
Title remainder
a novel
Statement of responsibility
Emma Donoghue
Creator
Author
Subject
Genre
Language
eng
Summary
"Noah Selvaggio is a retired chemistry professor and widower living on the Upper West Side, but born in the South of France. He is days away from his first visit back to Nice since he was a child, bringing with him a handful of puzzling photos he's discovered from his mother's wartime years. But he receives a call from social services: Noah is the closest available relative of an eleven-year-old great-nephew he's never met, who urgently needs someone to look after him. Out of a feeling of obligation, Noah agrees to take Michael along on his trip. Much has changed in this famously charming seaside mecca, still haunted by memories of the Nazi occupation. The unlikely duo, suffering from jet lag and culture shock, bicker about everything from steak fries to screen time. But Noah gradually comes to appreciate the boy's truculent wit, and Michael's ease with tech and sharp eye help Noah unearth troubling details about their family's past. Both come to grasp the risks people in all eras have run for their loved ones, and find they are more akin than they knew. Written with all the tenderness and psychological intensity that made Room an international bestseller, Akin is a funny, heart-wrenching tale of an old man and a boy, born two generations apart, who unpick their painful story and start to write a new one together."--provided by publisher
Storyline
Writing style
Character
Review
  • On the cusp of his eightieth birthday, widowed and retired professor Noah Selvaggio is preparing to visit his native Nice. Thinly disguised as a vacation, the trip is actually an opportunity for Noah to explore his roots. He wants to learn more about his mother: what role did she have in the Marcel network that rescued more than 500 children from the Nazis before leaving France for America? On the eve of his departure, however, Noah is saddled with a new responsibility, the care of his grand-nephew, 12-year-old Michael, whose father is dead and whose mother is serving time in prison. Understandably, Michael complicates Noah’s mission. Setting the story against the compelling backdrop of the annual Carnaval de Nice, Donoghue (The Wonder, 2016) shines in her careful study of this slice of WWII history in France. As engaging and pleasing as this tale is, the two time frames don't quite cohere, and initially, Noah’s relationship with Michael feels stilted; yet there is keen humor in how nearly all the boy does is crave Coca-Cola, curse, or convey assent by saying, “kay.” Donoghue builds unabashedly to a heartwarming conclusion.HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Internationally best-selling Donoghue will draw her steadfast readership, while fans of WWII fiction will also seek out this well-publicized novel. -- Poornima Apte (Reviewed 7/1/2019) (Booklist, vol 115, number 21, p16)
  • Donoghue’s underwhelming latest features a troubled doppelgänger of the sweet naïf from her best-known novel, Room, a foul-mouthed 11-year-old named Michael, whose great-uncle Noah takes him to the French Riviera to save him from the foster care system after Michael’s father dies of an apparent overdose and his mother, who is in prison, is unable to care for him. In the present day, Noah, having discovered some photographs taken by his mother during the two years she spent in Vichy France, and wishing to discover their significance, travels to Nice with Michael in tow. Dialogue between the two predominates as they wander about the city, constantly squabbling along predictably generational lines, searching for clues about whether Noah’s mother was a Nazi collaborator or part of the Resistance. The reader is soon exasperated with Noah’s own collaboration with the author, who won’t let him solve the mystery without Michael’s age-appropriate technological savvy. This work seems like a pale redux of Room, with its depiction of the wonder of a sheltered boy supplanted by the cynicism of a damaged one, whose voice doesn’t always ring true. The gap between Michael’s view of the world and the reader’s feels less charged than it should be, though the book makes up for it to some degree with a very satisfying denouement. This is a minor work in Donoghue’s astounding oeuvre. (Sept.) --Staff (Reviewed 07/15/2019) (Publishers Weekly, vol 266, issue 28, p)
  • Recently retired professor Noah Selvaggio, nearing his 80th birthday, decides to visit his hometown of Nice, France. As a child, Noah was sent to live with his father in America while his mother cared for his ailing grandfather at the close of World War II. Before he leaves, Noah finds an envelope containing random photographs that could have only been taken by his mother in the years they were separated. His curiosity is piqued, but before he can investigate, he learns he is the only living relative of his deceased nephew's 11-year-old son, Michael. Reluctantly, Noah agrees to take Michael along, though the two couldn't be more different. Michael grew up without a father, his mother in prison. In Nice, the odd couple start to piece together the puzzle of the photos using Noah's knowledge of her life and Michael's sharp observations. VERDICT Donoghue (Room) nestles a quiet mystery in the growing relationship between two different family members as Noah sees through Michael's tough kid act and Michael (and readers) learn what the French in Nazi-occupied Nice had to endure. Readers interested in World War II or family drama will find this a fascinating read. --Brooke Bolton (Reviewed 08/01/2019) (Library Journal, vol 144, issue 7, p86)
  • Revisiting his birthplace in France, a retired university professor reckons with his past—and, unexpectedly, the future in the form of a great-nephew. Noah hasn't seen Nice since his mother sent him to join his father in the U.S. when he was 4, during World War II. He plans to celebrate his 80th birthday there, and he certainly wasn't planning to take along 11-year-old Michael, illegitimate son of Noah's ne'er-do-well nephew, Victor. But Michael's mother is in jail on drug charges—probably taking the rap for Victor, who subsequently OD'd—and the grandmother who was taking care of the boy just died; there is literally no one else, says the desperate social worker who phones Noah as a last resort. With her characteristic storytelling brio, Donoghue (The Lotterys Plus One, 2017, etc.) sets up a fraught situation with multiple unresolved issues. Instead of a leisurely visit to Nice, possibly tracking down the locations of some enigmatic photographs his mother took during the war, Noah is stuck with a foulmouthed, sullen tween who rarely lifts his eyes from his battered phone. Granted, it's predictable that this mismatched pair will ultimately come to grudging mutual respect and even affection, but Donoghue keeps sentimentality to a minimum and deftly maintains a suspenseful plot. Michael's digital skills come in handy as Noah investigates the unpleasant possibility that his mother was a Nazi collaborator, and his (minimal) confidences reveal a history of poverty and loss that makes the boy's thorny character understandable. Noah, still holding internal conversations with his beloved wife, Joan, nine years after her death, knows something about loss, and he struggles to be patient. Donoghue's realistic portrait of Michael includes enough rudeness and defiance to make the pair's progress toward détente bumpy and believable. The story of Noah's mother turns out to be more complicated and even sadder than he had feared, leading to a beautiful meditation on how we preserve the past as we prepare for the future. Noah and Michael, humanly flawed and all the more likable for that, deserve their happy ending. Not as ambitious or challenging as Donoghue in absolute top form (say, Room), but readable, well crafted, and absorbing. (Kirkus Reviews, July 1, 2019)
http://library.link/vocab/ext/novelist/bookUI
10804717
Cataloging source
LPU
http://library.link/vocab/creatorDate
1969-
http://library.link/vocab/creatorName
Donoghue, Emma
Dewey number
823/.914
Illustrations
illustrations
Index
no index present
LC call number
PR6054.O547
LC item number
A36 2019
Literary form
novels
http://library.link/vocab/resourcePreferred
True
http://library.link/vocab/subjectName
  • Vacations
  • Retirees
  • Older people
  • Boys
  • Family secrets
  • Families
  • Nice (France)
  • Riviera (France)
Target audience
adult
Label
Akin : a novel, Emma Donoghue
Instantiates
Publication
Carrier category
volume
Carrier category code
  • nc
Carrier MARC source
rdacarrier
Content category
text
Content type code
  • txt
Content type MARC source
rdacontent
Contents
I. The call -- II. Twenty questions -- III. Takeoff speed --- IV. The promenade -- V. Neither here nor there -- VI. The law of closure -- VII. Nom de guerre -- VIII. Schooled -- IX. Decisive moments
Dimensions
25 cm
Edition
First edition.
Extent
339 pages
Isbn
9780316491990
Lccn
2019932665
Media category
unmediated
Media MARC source
rdamedia
Media type code
  • n
Other physical details
illustrations
System control number
  • on1107869075
  • (OCoLC)1107869075
Label
Akin : a novel, Emma Donoghue
Publication
Carrier category
volume
Carrier category code
  • nc
Carrier MARC source
rdacarrier
Content category
text
Content type code
  • txt
Content type MARC source
rdacontent
Contents
I. The call -- II. Twenty questions -- III. Takeoff speed --- IV. The promenade -- V. Neither here nor there -- VI. The law of closure -- VII. Nom de guerre -- VIII. Schooled -- IX. Decisive moments
Dimensions
25 cm
Edition
First edition.
Extent
339 pages
Isbn
9780316491990
Lccn
2019932665
Media category
unmediated
Media MARC source
rdamedia
Media type code
  • n
Other physical details
illustrations
System control number
  • on1107869075
  • (OCoLC)1107869075

Library Locations

    • James City County LibraryBorrow it
      7770 Croaker Road, Williamsburg, VA, 23188, US
      37.377573 -76.770995
    • Williamsburg LibraryBorrow it
      515 Scotland Street, Williamsburg, VA, 23185, US
      37.377573 -76.770995
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