A note from Claire Holden Rothman, with thanks
I am eager to read Dream City. I find it enormously courageous to go back to all that was unsaid in a family, and to dare to say it.
Your words at the library tonight about the decision to undertake this process, and then about the process itself were inspiring and rang with hard-won truths. Also your words about Virginia Woolf and Leslie Stephen, and about Mavis Gallant, that consummate writer about children in complicated parental situations. Well, Alice Munro is another brilliant writer on this subject, but her focus was always the mother, not the father. I remember “The End of the World,” an achingly beautiful story Gallant wrote about an adult son travelling from Canada to France, to a convent where his deeply self-delusional father lay dying. Perhaps this was inspired by Gallant’s real mother, or her step-father? Who knows. But Gallant nailed the emotional truth of the meeting. And another story about a neglectful father crossing Canada by car to visit his estranged adult daughter on Vancouver Island. I just loved her stories about adult kids aching, always in vain, for connection with a parent.
It was a joy and an inspiration to hear your thoughts and feelings regarding this latest publication. Memoir might be your best form. I certainly was bowled over by your gracious handling of hard, complex realities in Marrying Hungary.
Thank you for this new book, and for the gracious and consistently generous interview you offered to Shelley P, and to all of us in the room at the library today.
Claire (Holden Rothman)