Finding peace in a family tree
by Joan Hinkemeyer, Special to the News
Rocky Mountain News
August 10, 2005
Families can nurture or stifle, be havens or foster fear, and sometimes the same family reveals contradictory faces to different members.
Terry Gamble explores the idiosyncratic nature of family dynamics in her new book, Good Family, lending the same probing eye and lyrical voice to this novel that she employed in her well-received previous book, The Water Dancers. More...
'Good Family' digs deeper into complex lives
by Diane Weddington, Correspondent
Inside Bay Area
July 7, 2005
LAKE MICHIGAN'S North Shore has again been captured forcefully in the second memorable and evocative novel by San Francisco writer Terry Gamble.
Her first, "The Water Dancers," focused on the complex relationship between wealthy North Shore seasonal residents and local Native American people. "Good Family" takes readers deeper into the complex inner lives of those who spend their summers in North Shore family homes...
Often a second novel is not the equal of a first. In Gamble's case the second novel is even stronger. She works at writing and her dedication to craft shows. This bodes well for what should be a long and interesting career. More...
Returning after many years to the summer home of her wealthy family on an island in Lake Michigan, Maddie Addison is forced to face childhood issues and the decline, after a stroke, of her once flamboyant mother. Her cousins gather, as they did in their youth, at the shabby giant "cottage" where they have vacationed for generations. Now an independent filmmaker in New York, divorced, with a dwindling inheritance and sad memories of a lost child, Maddie faces the ghosts of the past with trepidation. Her sister and cousins wrestle their own demons and their mixed feelings about the wealth they've shared. Gamble (The Water Dancers) is evidently descended from a similar family fortune, and her writing is true and evocative. This coming-of-middle-age family novel is a cut above the usual. Recommended as the perfect camp novel of the summer.
May 1, 2005
In the waning days of her mother’s life, Maddie Addison reluctantly returns to the family vacation home on Michigan’s Sand Isle, an idyllic retreat where generations of prominent industrialists have traditionally summered in grand style, replete with servants, sailboats, and secrets. Though this was once a welcome haven, Maddie has been in self-imposed exile for more than a decade, ever since the tragic summer when her infant daughter, Sadie, died, an event that plunged Maddie into the depths of alcoholic despair. Now faced with the family she alienated and abandoned—a raucous and slightly dissipated group of siblings, cousins, and assorted offspring—Maddie is forced to confront the rueful memories that haunt her, the vexing choices she has made, and the poignant consequences of living a life apart. Rich in elegant reflections and piquant observations, Gamble’s sublime account of a family in disarray and a woman displaced is sheer perfection; she masterfully gives shape and nuance to the intricacies of those relationships that are meant to provide comfort, but that very often mask underlying sorrow.
May 9, 2005
Gamble's evocative second novel chronicles a prodigal daughter's fraught homecoming and re-immersion in a family history both harsh and cradling. After an 11-year absence, 40-something filmmaker Maddie Addison leaves New York and returns to her patrician family's summer place on the shores of Lake Michigan to join an odd mix of family and friends at the bedside of her dying mother. There, as she battles with the ghosts of past mistakes, she discovers family secrets and confronts her personal tragedies. She faces her sister, Dana; an old boyfriend; and a cast of eccentric cousins as they all come together for the first time in more than a decade. As her former boozehound mother's health deteriorates, Maddie recollects the decades past that account for the woman she has become, recounting her confused marriage, the death of her infant and her own struggles with alcohol. Hidden letters, secret loves and desperate acts all come to light as Maddie strives for peace with her relatives and within herself. Though she occasionally strains for lyricism, Gamble (The Water Dancers) paints a poignant tale that is at once tragic and hopeful.