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From Barnes & NobleBarnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers
We have a confession to make. At the Discover program, we have a rule against "discovering" an author twice. But somehow, when it came to Kim Edwards's first novel, literary amnesia set in and we promptly forgot that eight years ago, we'd discovered her debut short-story collection, The Secrets of a Fire King. A Freudian slip? Perhaps, as her new book is all about memory…
"Photography is all about secrets," says David Henry. "The secrets we all have and will never tell." The price we pay for such secrets is what drives the action Edwards's wholly absorbing novel. It opens during a snowstorm in 1962, when David's young wife, Norah, goes into labor prematurely. When the storm prevents her obstetrician from attending the birth, David and his nurse, Caroline, must handle it themselves. Caroline puts Norah to sleep -- a standard practice then -- and David delivers an unanticipated set of twins. The baby boy is healthy; the second child, a baby girl, has Down syndrome.
Haunted by the memory of growing up with a chronically ill sister, David makes a split-second decision. He asks Caroline to take his infant daughter to an institution, and when Norah wakes, he tells her that the second child was stillborn. The right decision? Clearly not, yet David fervently believes he's chosen the best course of action. But his decision has a ripple effect that will last throughout his life, touching the lives of others.
A graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop, Edwards has written a novel both delightful and sad. Spanning 25 years, The Memory Keeper's Daughter carries the powerful message that regardless of what we do, our past never stops haunting our future. (Fall 2005 Selection)