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Never Coming Back
Cover of Never Coming Back
Never Coming Back
A Novel
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"[A] poignant meditation on the relationship between a mother and daughter" from the New York Times bestselling author of Shadow Baby (Publishers Weekly). When Clara Winter left her rural Adirondack...
"[A] poignant meditation on the relationship between a mother and daughter" from the New York Times bestselling author of Shadow Baby (Publishers Weekly). When Clara Winter left her rural Adirondack...
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  • "[A] poignant meditation on the relationship between a mother and daughter" from the New York Times bestselling author of Shadow Baby (Publishers Weekly).

    When Clara Winter left her rural Adirondack town for college, she never looked back. Her mother, Tamar, a fiercely independent but loving woman who raised Clara on her own, all but pushed her out the door, forcing Clara to build a new life for herself, far from her roots, far from her high school boyfriend, far from the life she had always known. Now more than a decade has passed, and Clara, a successful writer, has been summoned home. Tamar has become increasingly forgetful and can no longer live on her own. But just as her mother's memory is beginning to slip away, Clara's questions are building. Why was Tamar so insistent that Clara leave home all those years ago? Just what secrets was she hiding? In this "quietly powerful" (Booklist) and "luminous novel" (Kirkus Reviews), Alison McGhee tells the story of a young woman finding her way in life, determined to know her mother—and by extension herself—before it's too late.

    "A deeply moving exploration of growing up and growing old, and the ties that bind parents and children—and the mysteries that sometimes keep us apart."—Chris Bohjalian, New York Times bestselling author of The Red Lotus

    "An intimate and painfully aware portrait of the debilitating effects of Alzheimer's on its victims as well as the people who must watch their tormented loved ones tumble into the disease's terrible abyss."—Star Tribune

About the Author-

  • ALISON MCGHEE writes for all ages in all forms. Her best-selling novel Shadow Baby was a Today Show Book Club pick, and her picture book for adults, Someday, was a #1 New York Times bestseller. She has won dozens of fellowships and awards, has three grown children, and lives a semi-nomadic life.

Reviews-

  • Publisher's Weekly

    August 28, 2017
    In this poignant meditiation on the relationship between a mother and daughter from McGhee (Shadow Baby), Clara Winter is 31 when she first notices that her almost-50-year-old mother, Tamar, seems to be more forgetful than usual. After learning that her mother has been diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s, Clara moves from her home in Florida back to the Adirondacks where she grew up. Clara’s fear of facing her mother’s deteriorating health is coupled with her own concern that there is a 50-50 chance she has inherited the gene that causes early-onset Alzheimer’s. She also wants to find out why her mother so adamantly pushed her to attend college far away but fears that, due to her mother’s condition, she may never find out. Though this well-written story will appeal to a broad range of readers for its rich characterization, mothers and daughters will especially find Clara’s and Tamar’s story moving and memorable.

  • Kirkus

    August 1, 2017
    A luminous novel about a daughter who attempts to make peace with her mother, who's been diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer's disease; McGhee revisits characters from Shadow Baby (2000).Clara Winter, a preteen in the earlier book, is now in her early 30s, making a meager living writing eulogies or wedding tributes for $100 a pop. When she learns that her mother has been diagnosed with dementia, she moves from Florida back to the Adirondacks, where she grew up. Her mother, meanwhile, has sold her house and all its possessions--with the exception of Clara's childhood books--and moved into a nursing home. Clara wants to say goodbye to her mom, the "fearsome" Tamar, but she is also desperate to solve a mystery from her youth: why did her high school boyfriend break up with her after a conversation with her mother? Despite Clara's age, the book sometimes has the ring of a young-adult novel: Clara's budding romance with a sweet, hunky bartender seems uncomplicated by whatever life she has been living for the past decade, her only friendships are with college friends, and her obsession with high school secrets would make more sense for a younger character. McGhee nimbly structures the novel as a version of Tamar's favorite television show, Jeopardy, and if the answers to Clara's questions aren't as compelling as the hunt to find them, the author's gift for subtly poetic language and her believable dialogue make Clara's journey worth following. McGhee has an almost musical ability to repeat the themes of her novel with enough variation to keep them fresh. Fierce, complicated characters appear to grow out of the severe Adirondack landscape, and McGhee swerves away from sentimentality in addressing the relentlessly changing relationship at the novel's core.

    COPYRIGHT(2017) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

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    Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
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