Kate is having a baby, and her mother is dying. These two powerful currents come to define the life of this New England poet. Unable to live alone any longer in the late stages of her cancer, the elder Katherine comes to live with Kate, her boyfriend Matthew whose divorce is not yet final, and the baby Alexander, or Tate as his mother calls him. The intergenerational relations form the framework for the story.
As the story progresses, Kate struggles to form lasting relationships with Matthew's two children from his prior relationship, bonds with her nineteen year old nanny, Amy, who herself becomes pregnant and leaves the job, and faces a cancer scare of her own. Through interwoven flashbacks, the author shows the development of Kate's relationship to her mother: her rebellion and her return are neatly encapsulated, and there are echoes and suggestions of a shameful past.
This novel is primarily a character study of a new mother trying to come to terms with her dual roles of caretaker for her new child and for her new mother, roles which largely consume her.
This report prepared by Melissa Rachiele