All the frailties and dysfunctional emotions inherent in the nuclear family are here laid out in prose so strikingly true and hauntingly poignant that one wonders how anyone ever finds a mate, much less ever marries. This is a tale about finding one's place in the world, searching for that rare connection that only appears in the form of a blood relative. Even if it is a drug-addled mother who has given away her second child for adoption; a senile grandmother; or, at long last, locating your half-brother only to stand there before him naked and stripped of feelings and even the ability to carry on a simple conversation.
Author Dan Chaon consistently brings the reader to the edge of his/her own familial relationships, conjuring up times when mother and father were still in love and lived only to protect their child.
Troy is the child given up for adoption, and Jonah is the half-brother who goes in search of him. Hoping they might live life as real brothers with real feelings, they have little in common and both end up waging internal wars neither will win.
A melancholy ride over roads rough hewn with bitter memories, this book will go a long way in establishing the author as a leading figure in the telling of the world's most traumatic type of story - the honest one.