THE GLASS CASTLE meets THE NEST in this intimate family memoir that gracefully brings us behind the dappled beachfront vista of privilege, to reveal the inner lives of two wonderfully colorful, unforgettable families.
ALL HAPPY FAMILIES by Jeanne McCullough begins on a mid-August weekend. Two families assemble for a wedding at a rambling family mansion on the beach in East Hampton, in the last days of the area’s quietly refined country splendor, before traffic jams and high-end boutiques morphed the peaceful enclave into the “Hamptons.” The weather is perfect, the tent is in place on the lawn.
But as the festivities are readied, the father of the bride, and “pater familias” of the beachfront manse, suffers a massive stroke from alcohol withdrawal, and lies in a coma in the hospital in the next town. So begins Jeanne McCulloch’s vivid memoir of her wedding weekend in 1983 and its after effects on her family, and the family of the groom. In a society defined by appearance and protocol, the wedding goes on at the insistence of McCulloch’s theatrical mother. Instead of a planned honeymoon, wedding presents are stashed in the attic, arrangements are made for a funeral, and a team of lawyers arrive armed with papers for McCulloch and her siblings to sign.
As McCulloch reveals, the repercussions from that weekend will ripple throughout her own family, and that of her in-law’s lives as they grapple with questions of loyalty, tradition, marital honor, hope, and loss. Five years later, her own brief marriage ended, she returns to East Hampton with her mother to divide the wedding presents that were never opened.
Impressionistic and lyrical, at turns both witty and poignant, ALL HAPPY FAMILIES is McCulloch’s clear-eyed account of her struggle to hear her own voice amid the noise of social mores and family dysfunction, in a world where all that glitters on the surface is not gold, and each unhappy family is ultimately unhappy in its own unique way.
(Summary courtesy of Harper Wave)
An editor at The Paris Review, Tin House, writer in the Features department at Vogue magazine, McCulloch’s work has appeared in Vogue, Tin House, Elle, Allure, O Magazine, and The New York Times Book Review, among other publications. Her interviews with writers have appeared in the legendary Writers at Work series at The Paris Review, and in Tin House. She is the founding Editorial Director of Tin House Books. McCulloch has taught fiction and non-fiction at The New School for Social Research and at numerous summer writers conferences.
Thanks to Harper Collins/Harper Wave, we have one copy to giveaway. Just tell us what your family was like growing up. We’ll announce a winner soon. Good luck.
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