An excerpt from “Three sisters face shadows of disrupted lives in Portland author’s debut novel” by Amy Wang for the Oregonian/ OregonLive
Leave it to a family therapist to write a novel about adult sisters each working their own way through a shared childhood trauma.
Dian Greenwood’s debut novel, About the Carleton Sisters, features three middle-aged women still processing their father’s departure during their teens. Tom Carleton left one morning as if he was going to work and never returned. His wife and children found a terse note that said only not to look for him.
“Daddy. He was to blame,” oldest sister Lorraine thinks when youngest sister Becky makes a mortifying scene at the diner where Lorraine works. “The day he left, our family was wrecked in the same way Humpty Dumpty broke apart and, no matter how hard I’d prayed, the Lord hadn’t been able to put us back together again.”
That “major disrupting event,” as Greenwood calls it, casts a long shadow. As the story begins in California’s Central Valley in 1999, Lorraine is her mother’s reluctant and lonely live-in caregiver, pining after a married pastor. Middle sister Julie, a longtime Las Vegas dancer, is finding herself increasingly passed over for jobs. Becky lurches from one drunken episode to another. The sisters grudgingly reunite only because of another disrupting event: their mother’s terminal breast cancer.
Greenwood, of Portland, is making her literary debut at age 81, after spending 25 years working on About the Carleton Sisters. She’ll appear Aug. 10 at Annie Bloom’s Books and Sept. 12 [6:00 pm] at Broadway Books to present the book.
Click for the full piece (including interview!) by Amy Wang from The Oregonian.