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Separated at Birth

An award-winning novel looks at twins whose lives are wrenched apart.

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In Kim Edwards' award-winning novel The Memory Keeper's Daughter, sorrow, deception, and hope collide over the span of a quarter-century. A woman gives birth to twins in 1964, but after realizing that the girl has Down syndrome, her doctor husband gives the baby to a nurse, telling his wife that the infant died. The nurse ends up raising the child herself, after promising the husband she'd place the girl an institution. For the next 25 years, the two families' lives edge closer.

Edwards says the book was inspired by real life. "I heard this true story about a guy in his 40s who discovered he had a brother who died in an institution," says Edwards. "The secret at the center of this family was so compelling." Despite a downer of a premise and a seemingly callous male protagonist, The Memory Keeper's Daughter (recently released in paperback) finds sympathy for its characters along the way. "People deal with death and grief in different ways," says Edwards. "We've all looked at something we did and surprised even ourselves."
Fri., June 23, 7 p.m.

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