Book review: Meantime

When Claire was 9, her father began an affair with the church minister's wife, and the two families moved in together instead of putting the kids through divorce. Claire suddenly had a stepĀ­sister, Nicole, whom she didn't know but who was the only person who might understand what she was going through. Writing Seminars lecturer Noel's Meantime (Black Cat/Grove) follows Claire as a 30-year-old furniture restorer who discloses her unusual past like a proud scar among the affluent, educated gentrifiers of her San Francisco neighborhood. But when her husband's emergency hospitalization upends her marriage, Claire realizes that her childhood continues to skew how she understands what family could, and should, mean. Wickedly funny and uncomfortably frank.

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