By way of Italy, the Felice family puts down new roots in Southern California, settling into a grand Victorian home and buying a share of the great American Dream. But for their five, first-generation children, an idyllic childhood didn’t quite translate into success and happiness. Rather, the pressures of living up to expectations drove a wide rift through the family.
After decades apart, the five siblings find themselves together again at their ailing mother’s bedside, caught in a deadlocked feud over her hospice care. Into the morass steps Murron Teinetoa, one of their bastard children, who carries an idealistic hope of finally fitting in among her estranged relatives.
In an interweaving narrative, Malae portrays the Felices in their formative years of the fifties; he excavates the personal lives of the siblings in the eighties and nineties; and he follows Murron in the present as she raises her son as a single mother. A powerful and fiery multi-generational story, Our Frail Blood captures the beauty and horror, the strength and fragility, the selfishness and love comprising the threads of familial bonds.
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"The novel’s heart is true . . . Malae is at his best: depicting the throbbing pain and joy of an American family." Publishers Weekly
"The turbulent story of the Felice family . . . speaks to the weaknessesour frail bloodthat so many of us share . . . a thoughtful work." Kirkus Reviews
"Like Jonathan Franzen’s The Corrections, Malae’s story wrestles with the individual problems of each family member and places them in stark relief to one another. From international adoption to the AIDS crisis, no family member is immune to the emotional pain that living in a complex world brings. For readers who enjoy richly textured family sagas, this is a must-read." Booklist
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This book really puts Malae on the map as an author to be reckoned with. The scope of the book is vast, the character portraits intense. I couldn't put it down.