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Antonya Nelson's Living to Tell deals with the aftermath of trauma (it kicks off with the flight home, from prison, of the once happy-go-lucky young man who was behind the wheel, slightly drunk, in an accident in which his even more drunk and much-beloved grandmother was killed), and is really a novel about the dynamics of family than the vagaries of university politics. The family's patriarch, the exquisitely named Professor Mabie, is also its center, and the academic lunacy, tangential to the main plot, serves as a smart, understated, witty commentary on the family lunacy.
—Mark Winegardner, a professor in the creative writing program at Florida State University, is the author of four books, including the novel The Veracruz Blues.