Debra Granik's film is a masterful familial drama—and much more.
In response to our request for essays on lies, we received many compelling reflections. Here is a selection.
Critics view genealogy as a kind of ersatz historiography, an individualistic reconstruction of the past. But there is more to family tree building.
I knew life was a gift to be shared, not a possession to safeguard, even before my wife collapsed on the kitchen floor. But it was abstract knowledge then.
A hundred times I warned my kids about that stretch of road. A dozen times I inquired about streetlights, or reflectors, or anything in that tunnel.
Ranting about the assumptions people make about only children has been a part of my life since before I knew what the word assumption meant. After reading yet another comment that was likely intended to be lighthearted—but that implied that we only children are spoiled and always get our way—I thought it was time to turn this rant into a reflection.
I would sit between them, and every hour or so one would murmur a response to some moppet's question, and the other would smile at his garrulity.
Even though I preached at my father’s funeral, I remembered how meaningful it was for me to sit in the front row between my brother and mother, to sing and pray with them. I wanted to do that again. The next day I changed my mind.
Anne Tyler's 20th novel is, like her previous 19, about a mildly dysfunctional Baltimore family of loyal yet infuriating people who love one another, but not always helpfully.
The bifurcation of the agreed-upon version of life has an extra layer of meaning for me. Not only did it help me to understand what is happening as a parent, but it’s helping me with my own story-telling, as a daughter.