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The Resource Like family, Paolo Giordano ; English translation by Anne Milano Appel

Like family, Paolo Giordano ; English translation by Anne Milano Appel

Label
Like family
Title
Like family
Statement of responsibility
Paolo Giordano ; English translation by Anne Milano Appel
Creator
Contributor
Author
Translator
Subject
Genre
Language
  • eng
  • ita
  • eng
Summary
"When a young married couple hire a middle-aged widow during the wife, Nora's, difficult pregnancy, they don't realize the dominating force she will become in their small family. Signora A--maid, nanny, and confidante--becomes the glue in their household, and over time, the steady and loving presence whose benign influence allows them to negotiate the complexities of married life. But the delicate fabric of the young family comes undone when Signora A is diagnosed with lung cancer. After she becomes too sick to work, both husband and wife feel the strain of her absence. Moving seamlessly between the past and present, Giordano weaves together the layers of Signora A's devotion and sacrifice--from her early experiences of love during a tragically short marriage, to her adoration of her new surrogate family. Highlighting the joy of youth and the fleeting nature of time with remarkable precision and lyricism, Paolo Giordano gives us a meditation on life, death, and the relationships we build in between. Like Family is not a simple love story; it's a story about love in its many forms, and how a capacity for love can give meaning to any existence, no matter how ordinary."--
Member of
Has edition
Storyline
Tone
Writing style
Character
Review
  • /* Starred Review */ Combining the edginess of modern life with the touching theme of losing someone who has become just like family, this short novel recounts how an ordinary woman, Mrs. A.—nicknamed Babette after she insists on preparing a perfect dinner for the family that employs her (a reference to Babette’s Feast )—succumbs to cancer, leaving behind an unexpectedly rich legacy of love. Babette first comes to work for the unnamed scientist narrator and his wife, Nora, to help out during Nora’s difficult pregnancy, then stays on to become housekeeper/nanny/nurse/substitute mother/grandmother, the nucleus of this nuclear family. Babette witnesses the baby’s first steps and attends his first day of school, but her importance to each family member is appreciated only when she retires, claiming fatigue before discovering she has terminal cancer. For the family, losing this woman (who dislikes change) changes everything. The couple sees her through her illness, accompanies her to the wig maker, and sits by her bedside, even as the gap created by the husband’s detached logic and Nora’s intuitive empathy widens. Layer by layer, Giordano (The Solitude of Prime Numbers ) peels back personal connections to ask: What is family? For that matter, what is love? In this case, a woman’s simple story confirms Giordano as a writer who understands contemporary science and the complexities of human relationships. (Dec.) --Staff (Reviewed September 28, 2015) (Publishers Weekly, vol 262, issue 39, p)
  • /* Starred Review */ All definitions of the word poignant apply to this beautifully crafted novel inspired by true events. From the moment Mrs. A enters his household, the narrator feels a strong love and respect for her. Owing to his wife's difficult pregnancy, Mrs. A is hired as a housekeeper and then takes over as nanny once a baby boy is born. The calm and quiet woman is relied on by her employers more and more, and she soon becomes invaluable to them both. In a short time, she has thoroughly spoiled them, as they increasingly depend upon her for guidance and reassurance. With piercing prose that never allows for sentimentality, Giordano writes of Mrs. A's subsequent battle with cancer and eventual demise. The effects of her illness and death on the family are realistically portrayed, making the reader acutely aware that she truly was "like family." VERDICT Giordano won Italy's Premio Strega Prize for his first novel, The Solitude of Prime Numbers , and followed up with an acclaimed second novel, The Human Body ; this third novel should earn him well-deserved international praise once again. Its themes are universal, and it will appeal to anyone who treasures the gifts of others. [See Prepub Alert, 6/8/15.]— Lisa Rohrbaugh, Leetonia Community P.L., OH --Lisa Rohrbaugh (Reviewed November 1, 2015) (Library Journal, vol 140, issue 18, p80)
  • In this minimalist elegy, a man mourns the death of his family's accidental matriarch. Mrs. A. comes into the young couple's life quite by accident—or perhaps by fate—when the unnamed narrator's wife is placed on bed rest during her first pregnancy. Despite never having raised children herself, Mrs. A. quickly assumes command of the household, staying on to become their son's nanny. So when she abruptly quits after more than eight years with the family, everyone is bewildered, and they're taken by surprise to learn months later that Mrs. A. is terminally ill. Without her gentle anecdotes about her late husband, Renato, and aptly chosen proverbs, the couple lacks a compass for marriage and child-rearing. They suspect that not only the order of their home, but also their relationships depended on Mrs. A. Often lyrical in its meditations, Giordano's (The Human Body, 2014, etc.) latest novel at times risks lapsing into saccharine cliché: Mrs. A. is a force of nature steadying all of their lives, a lonely widow seeking a family to love, a miraculous finder of lost documents. Emotionally self-centered, unable to fully connect to others, the narrator and his wife call this seemingly magical woman "Mrs. A." and "our Babette" (after the Karen Blixen novel) but never her given name. At its best, Giordano's portrait of Mrs. A. lingers on the quirks that make her a lovable eccentric: her faith fractures as she begins to suspect God should be "ask[ing] her for forgiveness"; her trust in reason falters as she places her hopes in nebulously substantiated pseudo-scientific studies; her vanity thrills to a perfectly coiffed wig as she anticipates the effects of chemotherapy. And at his best, Giordano muses gorgeously on our inability to blend our life essences; even love leaves us lonely. A lovely remembrance played in a minor key.(Kirkus Reviews, October 1, 2015)
Assigning source
Provided by publisher
http://library.link/vocab/ext/novelist/bookUI
10458583
Cataloging source
DLC
http://library.link/vocab/creatorDate
1982-
http://library.link/vocab/creatorName
Giordano, Paolo
Dewey number
853/.92
Index
no index present
LC call number
PQ4907.I57
LC item number
N4713 2015
Literary form
novels
http://library.link/vocab/relatedWorkOrContributorName
Appel, Anne Milano
http://library.link/vocab/resourcePreferred
True
http://library.link/vocab/subjectName
  • Married people
  • Women household employees
Target audience
adult
Label
Like family, Paolo Giordano ; English translation by Anne Milano Appel
Instantiates
Publication
Copyright
Note
  • "Pamela Dorman Books."
  • "A novel"--Dust jacket
  • "Originally published in Italian as 'Il Nero e l'argento' by Giulio Einaudi editore s.p.a., Torino"--Title page verso
Carrier category
volume
Carrier category code
  • nc
Carrier MARC source
rdacarrier
Content category
text
Content type code
  • txt
Content type MARC source
rdacontent
Dimensions
19 cm
Extent
146 pages
Isbn
9780525428763
Lccn
2015040695
Media category
unmediated
Media MARC source
rdamedia
Media type code
  • n
System control number
  • 925785405
  • (OCoLC)925785405
Label
Like family, Paolo Giordano ; English translation by Anne Milano Appel
Publication
Copyright
Note
  • "Pamela Dorman Books."
  • "A novel"--Dust jacket
  • "Originally published in Italian as 'Il Nero e l'argento' by Giulio Einaudi editore s.p.a., Torino"--Title page verso
Carrier category
volume
Carrier category code
  • nc
Carrier MARC source
rdacarrier
Content category
text
Content type code
  • txt
Content type MARC source
rdacontent
Dimensions
19 cm
Extent
146 pages
Isbn
9780525428763
Lccn
2015040695
Media category
unmediated
Media MARC source
rdamedia
Media type code
  • n
System control number
  • 925785405
  • (OCoLC)925785405

Library Locations

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      515 Scotland Street, Williamsburg, VA, 23185, US
      37.377573 -76.770995
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