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Shadow baby
Alison McGhee
Adult Fiction MCGHEE

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From Publishers' Weekly:

Loss, guilt and regret are conquered and transformed in McGhee's graceful second novel (after Rainlight), a poignant tale of family history regained. Events of her past year are narrated by 12 1/2-year-old Clara winter, who spells her surname with a lowercase "w" as "a rejection of winter, an acknowledgment of what winter really is and how it can kill." Though Clara's mother, Tamar, never speaks about the past, refusing even to name the father and grandfather Clara has never met, Clara knows she was born in a blizzard that probably killed her twin sister. Her grandfather, driving her mother to the hospital from their remote North Sterns home in upstate New York, took the wrong road and ran his truck into a ditch. Stranded, Tamar delivered her own babies, and only Clara survived. Obsessed by her mysterious past, Clara tries to create her own world, reading avidly, writing brilliant school reports on imaginary works, creating story lives for real people. When she meets a solitary old man who hangs his beautiful, hand-crafted lanterns in the dark Adirondack woods, she feels she has found a "compadre." Immigrant metalworker Georg Kominsky also knows the power of winter; as a youth, the lantern he left with his younger brother failed to guide the boy through a deadly snowstorm. Clara becomes Georg's apprentice in "the art of possibility," scavenging with him discarded tin cans he transforms into "objects of light." Gradually, gently, Georg points Clara toward the answers she craves, and teaches her to see beauty in the overlooked and forgotten, even in past tragedy. With a mix of deadpan humor and pathos, McGhee perfectly captures the voice of a sensitive, wise child on the cusp of adulthood, at once knowing and na‹ve. Agent, Doug Stewart. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

From Library Journal:

Clara Winter, the 12-year-old narrator of this tender coming-of-age tale, was born when the car in which her grandfather was driving her pregnant mother to the hospital crashed. Her twin sister did not survive, and Clara grows up feeling the loss of her sister like the phantom sensation of a lost limb. As Clara tries to make sense of what happened, she finds an unlikely soul mate and guide in Georg Kominsky, an elderly man she interviews for an oral history assignment. Clara soon uncovers the important pieces of his life story, including the tragedy that they have in common--losing a sibling during a cold, harsh winter. Georg drives her to meet her grandfather for the first time, and she prods him to heal his relationship with Clara's mother. When a terrible accident separates the two friends, Clara realizes that Georg has taught her a way of seeing objects in the world that she will continue using. Full of unforgettable, rich characters, McGhee's second novel will move many readers by its beauty and simplicity and by its implicit hopefulness. Highly recommended for all libraries.--Lisa S. Nussbaum, Euclid P.L., OH (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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more titles about

main characters Clara Winter
Female
Age: 12
Bright; feisty.

Tamar Winter
Female
Single mother
Clara's mother.

Georg Kominsky
Male
Age: 77
Immigrant
Metalworker



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