This is the story of the Bramble family--Margaret, Max, and Edie--three adult siblings careening through wildly different byways of adult life. Margaret, mother of three, is about to take her ailing father into the tumult and chaos of her already overcrowded home. Edie is young and single, but struggling mightily to anchor her solitary life. Max, newly married, newly a father, is buckling under the weight of new responsibilities. Over the course of one critical season, a long hidden secret will be revealed, remaking each of them, and all they thought they knew about themselves.
Minot's graceful, candid novel about the meaning of adulthood and the depth of family attachment follows the three siblings of the titular clan as they face the consequences of their life choices. Margaret is an ambivalent mother of three who relinquished her autonomy and former identity as a hip New Yorker for a suburban life of carpools; Max, a new father, quit his job as an independent film producer but hides the truth from his wife by pretending to go to work every day; depressed, lonely 20-something Edie struggles with singlehood and a newly acquired eating disorder. Now, they must cope with their widowed father, Arthur, who moves into Margaret's home to suffer through the final stages of cancer. There is also the matter of a long-held family secret, revealed, of course, when they least expect it. Minot (Susan's sister and author of The Tiny One) has a refreshing, contemporary voice, and even the most mundane moments Edie talking to herself in the car, Margaret's daughter dancing on the lawn contain surprising swells of emotion. As it turns out, the revealed secret is melodramatic and far-fetched, but this novel excels all the same, buoyed up by its quiet conflicts and small, gorgeous glimpses at truth. 40,000 announced first printing; author tour.