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Set in wartime Philadelphia, the story is told by Ellen, the youngest of three sisters in a narrative that travels back in time. She narrates to her daughter how she used to live for the annual Easter visits to see her cousin Randall the red hair that they shared helping to unite them with a strong unspoken bond. Later, when Randall leaves for the war, the young lad tells the blossoming girl that his new allegiance is to her. Unfortunately, Randall's emotions die with him when he is reported missing in action leaving memories and a book, "The Gardens of Kyoto" behind. Throughout the narrative the reader gets a feeling of distance and loss as Ellen recounts her friend's abortion, her sister's death followed by her husband's -- all after the childhood loss of Randall.
From the award-winning author of The Gardens of Kyoto comes this witty and incisive novel about the lives and attitudes of a group of women -- once country-club housewives; today divorced, independent, and breaking the rules. In Our Kind, Kate Walbert masterfully conveys the dreams and reality of a group of women who came into the quick rush of adulthood, marriage, and child-bearing during the 1950s. Narrating from the heart of ten companions, Walbert subtly depicts all the anger, disappointment, vulnerability, and pride of her characters: "Years ago we were led down the primrose lane, then abandoned somewhere near the carp pond. "Now alone, with their own daughters grown, they are finally free -- and ready to take charge: from staging an intervention for the town deity to protesting the slaughter of the country club's fairway geese, to dialing former lovers in the dead of night. Walbert's writing is quick-witted and wry, just like her characters, but also, in its cumulative effect, moving and sad. Our Kind is a brilliant, thought-provoking novel that opens a window into the world of a generation and class of women caught in a cultural limbo.
National Book Award finalist Kate Walbert's A Short History of Women is a profoundly moving portrayal of the complicated legacies of mothers and daughters, chronicling five generations of women from the close of the nineteenth century through the early years of the twenty-first.
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