09 Dec / A Lie Someone Told You about Yourself by Peter Ho Davies [in Booklist]
Once upon a time, when the father was a young boy – the same age as his young son now – he wanted to be a crossing guard. After that, he wanted to be a writer. “‘And now you are one!’” the son gleefully remarks. What the father doesn’t reveal to his precious child is that “he’s also grown up to be a man who aborts babies, puts his own father in a home.” What might seem to be actions too easy to judge, even by this grown man himself, is, of course, not; the decisions we make shape and are shaped by the li(v)es we live.
That never-knowing haunts Peter Ho Davies’ (The Fortunes, 2016) brief, admittedly autobiographical new novel, a raw, intimate look at a couple’s journey into parenthood, from the choice to abort their first pregnancy after a diagnosis of mosaicism to the arrival of a son after a difficult birth to the many tests his delayed development requires to the milestones of mundanity and triumph both. What began as a short story, “Chance,” published in 2012, has since matured into a resonant treatise on identity, family, grieving, writing, and “the taking and telling of other people’s stories.”