What We All Want
With swift prose and acerbic observation, Michelle Berry's first novel is an incisive yet tender portrait of suburban strangeness. Three siblings gather to bury their mother, Becka, a bedridden agoraphobic. Billy and Thomas fled their mother's fearfulness long ago, but Hilary remained at home to care for Becka. Hilary's isolation has led to a few eccentricities of her own.The splintered siblings are all keepers of secrets. Disgruntled and often drunk, Billy is hiding his recent unemployment from his fleshy wife and pregnant teenage daughter. Thomas has been hiding his partner of fifteen years. And now Hilary has a dark, pressing secret--one that is fuelling her desire to bury her mother in the backyard where she can keep an eye on her.Fumbling his way through the chaos of the siblings is Dick Mortimer, the bizarrely sympathetic funeral director and former childhood sweetheart of Hilary's. Hilary and Dick's reunion is a rekindling of possibility and a release from the past. Together they convince Thomas and Billy to give Becka a curious funeral, culminating in an unusual backyard barbecue. Uniquely comic with a tragic edge, "What We All Want" gives us a warped world in which salvation comes unexpectedly and sweetly.
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