Told with the storytelling power and emotional fidelity of Wally Lamb, this is a searing drama of a modern American family on the brink of dissolution, one that explores adoption, gay marriage, and love lost and found.
For years, Matthew Greene and Daniel Rosen have enjoyed a quiet domestic life together in Northampton, Massachusetts. Opposites in many ways, they have grown together and made their relationship work. But when they learn that Daniel’s twin brother and sister-in-law have been killed in a bombing in Jerusalem, their lives are suddenly, utterly transformed.
In dealing with their families and the need to make a decision about who will raise the deceased couple’s two children, both Matthew and Daniel are confronted with challenges that strike at the very heart of their relationship. What is Matthew’s place in an extended family that does not completely accept him or the commitment he and Daniel have made? How do Daniel’s questions about his identity as a Jewish man affect his life as a gay American? Tensions only intensify when they learn that the deceased parents wanted Matthew and Daniel to adopt the children—six-year-old Gal, and baby Noam.
The impact this instant new family has on Matthew, Daniel, and their relationship is subtle and heartbreaking, yet not without glimmers of hope. They must learn to reinvent and redefine their bond in profound, sometimes painful ways. What kind of parents can these two men really be? How does a family become strong enough to stay together and endure? And are there limits to honesty or commitment—or love?
In Frank's deeply moving second novel (after Crybaby Butch), Matt Greene and Daniel Rosen, a couple in Northampton, Mass., cope with the deaths of Daniel's twin brother and his wife Israeli citizens who are killed in a terrorist bombing in Jerusalem. Their will gives Daniel custody of the couple's children, Gal and Noam, and Matt, who is used to getting by on good looks and charm, isn't sure he can handle instant fatherhood. But while Daniel and the rest of the family are paralyzed by grief, Matt jumps in feet first to take charge. The couple is thus dismayed to learn that the Israeli courts, which can override wills for the sake of child welfare (or, in this case, homophobia), may deny custody of the children to them because they are gay. Moreover, Daniel causes controversy after he is interviewed for a newspaper story on the adoption case and, in the course of the interview, expresses sympathy for the Palestinians. As Daniel becomes more immersed in the custody battle, Matt feels increasingly ignored, until he explodes, creating a rift between the men. Frank shows a profound empathy for her characters, making this book heartbreaking, yet jubilantly hopeful.