Beech River Books

A Family's Loss   Fiction

by Tim Barretto
A Family's Loss

As the oldest of four children who come of age in the Sixties, Virgil believes he has grown up in a normal, healthy American family. When tragedy strikes in the Seventies, however, he is forced to question everything he has ever assumed about his family, and to examine the past for answers.

In a relentless search for these answers, Virgil sifts through his earliest memories and makes an uncomfortable discovery about his mother and two of his siblings, Jake and Lydia:

“It was not until dinner on the day of Lydia's First Communion that I finally began to put everything together and glimpse the truth of what was going on: Mother treated Jake differently not because she loved him more than the rest of us but because of just the opposite. Mother expected Jake to fail. And this was acceptable to her as long as his failures did not involve the rest of us. But when he attacked Lydia—however justified he might have been—it was something Mother absolutely could not abide.

“Later, when Jake tried to run away and everyone wondered how he could do such a thing, I thought I understood.”

This book is for anyone who has ever wondered about the largely hidden undercurrents of family. In prose that is both riveting and unsparing, it explores the way relationships within a family are often complex and evolving, and can exist largely beyond our conscious understanding. It challenges us to consider how much of our past is fixed reality, how much is fictional mythology, and how much is some unknowable combination of both.

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$19.95 / paperback / 269 pages / 5-1/2 in. (w) by 8-1/2 in. (h)
Beech River Books / 2013 / ISBN 978-0-9839367-2-5.

Tim Barretto teaches writing, speaking, and literature at the University of New Hampshire’s Thompson School of Applied Science. He and colleague Kate Hanson co-founded the Community Leadership program at the school in 2001 as a way of helping students interested in becoming activists and community leaders to find and develop their voices. His creative work includes another novel, Searching for Joy, published by Beech River Books, short stories published in literary journals and a one-act play about bullying that was performed at several schools in New Hampshire’s Strafford County. He has spent most of his adult life pursuing ways to eliminate child abuse, and in that pursuit has served as a passionate advocate for children. When he has free time, he loves to spend it outdoors fishing, hiking, or skiing with family and friends. He lives in Dover, NH, with his wife, Mary.


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