The story is so improbable, it can only be true: A brilliant woman with a long history of mental illness—who once proclaimed herself to be "the center of the universe" — is miraculously cured by accidental carbon monoxide poisoning aboard the family boat. Nancy Bachrach warns readers, “Don’t try this at home” in her darkly humorous memoir about “the second coming” of her mother — the indomitable Lola, whose buried family secrets had been driving her crazy.
Aching and tender, unflinching and wry, The Center of the Universe is a multigenerational mother-daughter story—a splendid, funny, lyrical memoir about family, truth, and the resilience of love.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
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|Title of eBook: The Center of the Universe|
|Release Date: 04-28-2009|
|Allowed Countries (hover)|
|Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group|
This eBook download is available in the following formats:
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The Center of the Universe
Things Fall Apart
MEMORIAL DAY WEEKEND, 1983
In the ancient forest on the Right Bank of Paris lies a jewel-like island where Napoléon, just back from the Alps, built a Swiss chalet. Emerald lawns and ruby flowers shimmer beside a sapphire lake as peacocks stride by. On a sunny Sunday morning in May, I am ensconced on the chalet’s terrace, now a café, replenishing more energy than my leisurely jog has exhausted. Around me, lazy hands stir sugar cubes in slow circles and spread butter on crusty baguettes. These are the only signs of industry in a city where the principal exercises are digestion and stroll?ing, laissez-faire is practiced and preached, and intermission is the pace of life.
I saunter through the woods toward my apartment as the ladies of the night flee daylight like vampires stumbling upon a cross. I know one of the Brazilians by name, since I pass her most mornings as she’s wrapping up her night’s work in tissues. Alexandro has just become Alexandra. Like her, I came to Paris to reinvent myself three years ago. Although I had no surgery, I did change my name, and while no one calls me a prostitute, sometimes I feel like one, admittedly, in another old and unlofty profession, advertising.
I’ve been relocated from headquarters in New York to tackle a marketing emergency for an important toiletries client— the launch of France’s first sorely needed antiperspirant. Our team on the Seine—ninety-nine people smoking and loitering above a gas station—won the coveted assignment (code-named Stink-o) even though they’ve failed for a decade to browbeat their countrymen into...