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The Center of the Universeby Nancy Bachrach
Synopses & Reviews
Nancy Bachrach is living in Paris, selling deodorant to the French, when a freak accident kills her father aboard his cabin cruiser, the aptly dubbed Mr. Fix It, in her incongruously named hometown of Providence. Her mother, Lola, the self-proclaimed “center of the universe,” whose medical history reads like the chapter headings of a psychiatric manual, lies in a coma “on deaths waiting list.” Nancy rushes home and sits by her mothers ventilatorthinking about Sunny von Bülow and eyeing the plug. Thus begins a family reunion with her brother, Ben (a piano prodigy and eventual surgeon who was born with three thumbs), and sister, Helen (the wild child, now an “abnormal psychologist”).
This is a dark, hilarious tale of genius, madness, ineptitude, collateral damage, and hopewith an ending thats improbable, as only the truth can be. Aching and tender, unflinching and wry, The Center of the Universe is a multi generational mother-daughter storya splendid, funny, lyrical book about family, truth, memory, and the resilience of love.
From the Hardcover edition.
The story is so improbable, it can only be true: A brilliant woman with a long history of mental illness—who once proclaimed herself to be "the center of the universe" — is miraculously cured by accidental carbon monoxide poisoning aboard the family boat. Nancy Bachrach warns readers, “Don’t try this at home” in her darkly humorous memoir about “the second coming” of her mother — the indomitable Lola, whose buried family secrets had been driving her crazy.
Aching and tender, unflinching and wry, The Center of the Universe is a multigenerational mother-daughter story—a splendid, funny, lyrical memoir about family, truth, and the resilience of love.
About the Author
Nancy Bachrach worked in advertising in New York and Paris, spinning hot air like cotton candy. Before that, she was a teaching assistant in the philosophy department at Brandeis University, where she was one chapter ahead of her class. She lives in New York City.
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