Carol Shields' tender, funny and wonderfully insightful portrait of two sisters struggling to rediscover themselves amidst the perplexing swirl of family life.
Judith is a biographer whose life is subsumed by others: a husband who keeps secret balls of wool in a bottom drawer, two children who share their deepest thoughts only with strangers, and the Victorian novelist who is her subject. Her sister Charleen is a single mother and lapsed poet with a marvellously uncomplicated on, Seth.
As Judith analyses the minutiae of past lives while striving to support those of the present, Charleen battles her own past ghosts and wonders desperately what her life has been about. When the sisters are reunited for their mother's wedding, Seth disappears in a turn of events that reveals some shocking truths.
Judith's struggle to manage the perplexing swirl of her family life is wonderfully balanced with Charleen's piercing gift of observation in this tender, funny and insightful portrait of two sisters learning to come to terms with the lives they have chosen.