In the summer of 1969, twelve-year-old Seth lives with his unstable mother, Ruth, and his brother and sister in a two-bedroom apartment in New Jersey. His father lives with his new wife in a ten-room house and has no interest in Seth and his siblings. Seth is dying to escape from his mother’s craziness and suffocating love, her marriage to a man she’s known for two weeks, and his father’s cold disregard.
Over the next four decades, Seth becomes the keeper of his family’s memories and secrets. At the same time, he emotionally isolates himself from all those who love him, especially his mother. But Ruth is also Seth’s muse, and this enables him to ultimately find redemption, for both himself and his family.
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|Title of eBook: A Stranger on the Planet|
|Release Date: 01-25-2011|
|Allowed Countries (hover)|
|Publisher: Soho Press|
This eBook download is available in the following formats:
|Parent title||A Stranger on the...|
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A Stranger on the Planet
We were a family of four: me; my mother, Ruth; my twin sister, Sarah; and our younger brother, Seamus—a name recommended to my mother by our neighbor Mary Murphy from County Cork.
My name is Seth. Seth Shapiro. Ruth said she selected all of our names because she wanted our initials to represent how strongly we were connected: SSSSSS. She called us her chain of love. She was right, of course—the four of us were deeply and painfully
bound together—but over time I have come to see these letters as an ideogram for silence.
• • •
My parents met at NYU. My mother was an undergraduate there, and my father was in the medical school. Throughout her teenaged years Ruth had been overweight and mentally unstable. At sixteen she was hospitalized after an especially bad psychotic
episode. She regressed into an infantile state, blathering in baby babble and covering herself in her own feces. Four years later, she had lost fifty pounds and learned to keep herself calm with cigarettes and tranquilizers. For her second date with my father,
she brought him home to Long Island for a Sabbath dinner. He proposed one month later. By the fifth year of their marriage, my mother had given birth to three children. In the seventh year of their marriage, my father made an important med...