Tolan has always let her mother have one secret — how she got that scar on her face — playing along with her mother’s game of inventing outlandish tales to explain the wound away. But when she finds a manuscript on her mother’s computer that promises to reveal the true story, Tolan only hesitates for a moment before curiosity compels her to read on.
She’s hoping for answers, but instead, she finds more mysteries tucked away in her mother’s past. Her mother appears to be associated with Bo, a feisty photojournalist who flies to Cuba in pursuit of a story and becomes embedded with Castro’s rebels, but Tolan can’t quite work out their connection. She’s more clear about the relationship between her mother and Michael, a man twelve years her senior. They bond over their shared outcast status, and their friendship quickly becomes intimate, but the relationship antagonizes the self-appointed moral watchdogs in their small town, who start to convert their threats into action. Tolan is pretty sure that Michael is her father. Her mother told her he died years ago, but the book suggests their story had a different ending.
Almost overnight, everything Tolan thought she knew about herself and her family has changed. She wants answers, but to find them, she risks destroying her closest relationships.
Tori’s asleep beside her. The top of Tolan’s head is nestled between Tori’s breasts, her cheekbone in the hollow where Tori’s ribs meet, her head rising and falling with Tori’s breaths. There are many reasons why she can’t sleep; one of them is that Tori can—is—so easily. They both think her mother suspects something. Tolan’s scared because Tori’s not, because she’d been so cavalier when Tolan asked her what they’d do if her mom found out. She’d just shrugged—the same way she’d shrugged when Tolan asked what she’d do if she didn’t get into Harvard, and what if her parents got a divorce, and what if there turned out to be a pop-quiz in pre-calc.
Tolan can’t sleep because Tori leaves for Harvard in less than five months and wants to have the talk, and because Tolan wants to have the talk too, and is scared of what she might say.
She can’t sleep because her arm is draped across Tori’s body, over the silk pajama top, her right hand clasping the flesh of Tori’s left arm, and she feels like they fit.
She can’t sleep because she hasn’t heard from the colleges she applied to yet, and because she doesn’t really care, but feels like she should.
And then there’s her mom and her mom’s book, but not just that. Memories, too. Conversations and stories.
All of it in doubt now.
Thank you, Ciahnan Darrell and RABT Book Tours
About the Author
Ciahnan Darrell’s short stories and essays have appeared in several journals, most recently in The Columbia Review, and his story, ‘What Remains,’ was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. He is a contributing editor at Marginalia, an international review of literature along the nexus of history, theology, and religion. He holds an MDiv from the University of Chicago, an MA in philosophy and the arts from Stony Brook University, and an MA and PhD in comparative literature from the University at Buffalo. A Lifetime of Men is his first novel.
Author profile: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/20597172.Ciahnan_Darrell
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