Synopses & Reviews
is the perfect title for this book—a knowing multi-generational (not quite saga so much as) situation:
a condition of privilege dealt with in differing ways by members of a family whose intimate wrangles are brilliantly limned. McCagg has an excellent ear, a noticing eye, and a deep familiarity with the world she here portrays. Read on!”
—Nicholas Delbanco, author of The Art of Youth, and Robert Frost Distinguished University Professor of English, The University of Michigan
“The walls of the Michaels family home have been privy to the lives and loves of three generations. And oh, if those walls could talk! As a granddaughter contemplates the fate of the house—to sell or not to sell—she receives guidance from her strong-willed grandmother, the family matriarch. Class privilege, inheritance, ambition, and personal responsibility—these are just some of the issues tackled in Bittersweet Manor. A multi-generational gem.”
—Tina Egnoski, author of In the Time of the Feast of Flowers
is the perfect title for this book--a knowing multi-generational (not quite saga so much as) situation: a condition of privilege dealt with in differing ways by members of a family whose intimate wrangles are brilliantly limned. McCagg has an excellent ear, a noticing eye, and a deep familiarity with the world she here portrays. Read on!"
--Nicholas Delbanco, author of The Art of Youth, and Robert Frost Distinguished University Professor of English, The University of Michigan
After a four-month estrangement from her family, thirty-two-year-old Emma Michaels visits The Harbor View Assisted Living Home to tell her grandmother, Gussie, that she has made a decision: she's going to sell the family property--her inheritance. Sitting on the dock of Poquatuck Village, Connecticut, looking across the harbor to their family's longtime home, the two women debate over Emma's choice--and their conversation lays the framework for the book, which flows over the decades, all the way back to Gussie's youth and marriage, then forward through the lives of her three children, Auggie, Livy, and Alyssa, whose hopes and talents are warped by their mother's influence and disappointed expectations. Expectations passed down through the generations. Subtle. Unspoken. Implacable. As Emma and Gussie remember the choices and dynamics that have produced the complicated tapestry that is their family's history, Emma makes a number of surprising discoveries about her loved ones--and herself--and she prepares to do what no one else in her family has dared: let go of the past to make room for the future, though doing so will destroy the thing her grandmother holds most dear.
About the Author
A graduate of Connecticut College, Tory earned her M.F.A. from Emerson College's writing program in 1989; her thesis and novel Shards won the Graduate Dean's Award. In February 1997, "Earthquake Weather" was a semi-finalist in the Tara Fellowships/Heekin Foundation. She has won two honorable mentions: one for "Enology" in 1998 (A. E. Coppard Prize for Fiction, White Eagle Coffee Store Press); the other for "Chain Material" in 2001 (Lorien Hemenway Short Story Competition). In 1999, "Roots", a chapter in Bittersweet Manor, was a semi-finalist in the New Millennium awards VIII contest. She is an accomplished flutist and a social activist, working for Common Cause RI, a government reform organization. She is currently working on a non-fiction book, Darwin's View One Breath After Midnight; and a novel with the working title Mother Daze. You can see and read more about Tory at her website www.torymccagg.com or her blog www.darwinsview.com