Kauffman’s The Gunners was a compelling story of childhood friends who came together in adulthood after one of their own died by suicide. Chorus has a similar feel, but within a family. The seven Shaw siblings are shaped by their mother’s mysterious death (which each remembers differently), and by one sister’s teenage pregnancy.
With a narrative that moves back and forth in time, the reader is granted the perspective of each sibling at different points in their lives, forming a picture of a family that shifts to fill in the spaces left by a death they don’t understand. A sensitive and perceptive literary family novel.
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For readers of Alice Munro, Elizabeth Strout, and Claire Lombardo, Chorus shepherds seven siblings through two life-altering events—their mother’s untimely death, and a shocking teenage pregnancy—that ultimately follow them through their lives as individuals and as a family.
The seven Shaw siblings have long been haunted by two early and profoundly consequential events. Told in turn back and forth over time, from the early twentieth century through the 1950s, each sibling relays their own version of the memories that surround both their mother’s mysterious death and the circumstances leading up to and beyond one sister’s scandalous teenage pregnancy. As they move into adulthood, the siblings assume various new roles: caretaker to their aging father, addict, enabler, academic, decorated veteran, widow, and mothers and fathers to the next generation.
Entangled in a family knot, each sibling encounters divorce, drama, and death, while haunted by a mother who was never truly there. Through this lens, they all seek not only to understand how her death shaped their family, but also to illuminate the insoluble nature of the many familial experiences we all encounter—the concept of home, the tenacity that is a family’s love, and the unexpected ways through which healing can occur.
Chorus is a hopeful story of family, of loss and recovery, of complicated relationships forged between brothers and sisters as they move through life together, and of the unlikely forces that first drive them away and then ultimately back home.