Elizabeth McCracken

The Hero of This Book
  • The Hero of This Book

  • Ten months after her mother's death, the narrator of The Hero of This Book takes a trip to London. The city was a favourite of her mother's, and as the narrator walks from Clerkenwell to the London Eye, from Tate Modern to the Bridge Theatre, she finds herself reflecting on her mother's life and their relationship. Thoughts of the past meld with questions of the future: back in New England, the family home is now for sale, its considerable contents already winnowed.

    The woman, a writer, recalls all that made her complicated mother extraordinary - her brilliant wit, her generosity, her unbelievable obstinacy, her sheer will in seizing life despite physical difficulties - and finds herself wondering how her mother had endured. Even though she wants to respect her mother's nearly pathological sense of privacy, the woman must come to terms with whether making a chronicle of this remarkable life constitutes an act of love or betrayal.

    The Hero of This Book is a searing examination of grief and renewal, and of a deeply felt relationship between a child and her parents. What begins as a question of filial devotion ultimately becomes a lesson in what it means to write. At once comic and heartbreaking, with prose that delights at every turn, this is a novel of piercing love and tenderness.

Elizabeth McCracken is the author of five books, Here’s Your Hat What’s Your Hurry, The Giant’s House (a National Book Award finalist), Niagara Falls All Over Again, the memoir An Exact Replica of a Figment of My Imagination, and Thunderstruck & Other Stories (winner of the 2014 Story Prize, longlisted for the National Book Award). She has received grants and fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts and she was chosen as one of Granta’s 20 Best American Writers Under 40. She has served on the faculty at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and currently holds the James Michener Chair for Fiction at the University of Texas at Austin.

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