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From Barnes & NobleBarnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers
Two suicides frame the life of Christopher "Kit" Lukas. The first was that of his mother, who ended her life when he was just six years old. The second was that of his older brother Tony, a Pulitzer Prizewinning writer, when both men were in their 60s. In between these seminal events, Kit's grandmother Missy swallowed a fatal overdose. In his pellucid memoir, Lukas retraces the vein of mental illness that ran through his family like a toxic river, exploring what enabled him, unlike the others, to swim rather than sink, despite the times he could barely keep his head above water.
It takes courage to reveal one's psyche on paper, for public consumption. To paraphrase Tony Lukas, Blue Genes achieves "what all true artists do with the pain of living -- [transform] it into something purging and redemptive." Kit does so with the intent of helping others who have suffered in families devastated by mental illness. Throughout the Lukas brothers' parallel yet lonely childhoods, their teen years fraught with jealousy and competition, and their adulthood -- characterized by professional success amid private estrangement that pointed to inner realities far more disparate than Kit imagined -- a mutual need and dependence struggled to reveal itself. In Blue Genes, Kit paints a portrait of two men who tried to reach for each other across those tainted waters, but only one made it to shore. (Holiday 2008 Selection)