Michael Shamanov grapples with the idea of his mother’s life and her desire to finish it. Perhaps it’s her life he has been running away from and not his own. A haunting gem of family secrets and impossible decisions with a distinctly European focus.
by John Hughes
Upswell Books/Black Inc. (Australia), October 2021
“The story of a life is as secret as life itself. A life that can be explained is no life at all.” —Elias Canetti
Is it possible to write about the living without thinking of them as already dead? Michael Shamanov is a man running away from life’s responsibilities. His marriage is over, he barely sees his son and he hasn’t seen his mother since banishing her to a nursing home two years earlier. A successful screenwriter, Michael’s encounter with his mother’s nurse leads him to discover that the greatest story he’s ever heard may lie with his dying mother. And perhaps it’s her life he’s been running away from and not his own.
Is the past ever finished? Should we respect another’s silence? And if so, is it ever possible to understand and put to rest the strange idea of family that travels through the flesh?
John Hughes is based in Sydney. He has published six books, all acclaimed and highly awarded, including the National Biography Award and Premier’s Book Awards. His previous novels, The Remnants and Asylum were critically acclaimed, and in 2019, No One was shortlisted in the Miles Franklin Award 2020.