Family of Origin (Hardcover)
by CJ Hauser
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A novel by the author of the viral essay sensation The Crane Wife: When Nolan Grey receives news that his father, a once-prominent biologist, has drowned off Leap's Island, he calls on Elsa, his estranged older half-sister, to help.
This, despite the fact that it was he and Elsa who broke the family in the first place. Elsa and Nolan travel to their father's field station off the Gulf Coast, where a group called the Reversalists obsessively study the undowny bufflehead, a rare duck whose loss of waterproof feathers proves, they say, that evolution is running in reverse.
On an island that is always looking backward, it's impossible for the siblings to ignore their past, and years of family secrecy threaten to ruin them all over again. Yet, despite themselves, the Greys urgently trek the island to find the so-called Paradise Duck, their father's final obsession, all the while grappling with questions of nature and nurture, intimacy and betrayal, progress and forgiveness.
" Family of Origin is a meditation on a singularly unique family that opens up to embrace all of us, every single family, every human being, and it doesn't let go. It's amazing...a supremely weird novel that displays humor and heartbreak in equal measure."
-- Kevin Wilson, author of The Family Fang
"Reminiscent of the family explorations of Rick Moody, Jennifer Egan, and Lauren Groff, this tragicomic novel explores climate change, family ties, and the millennial generation's feeling that they have arrived late to the party, that humanity and the environment appear to be declining before their eyes. Full of brilliantly realized characters, Hauser's latest is profound, often incredibly funny, and captures the times like few other contemporary novels."
-- Booklist (starred)
About the Author
CJ Hauser teaches creative writing and literature at Colgate University. She is the author of the novel The From-Aways and her fiction has appeared in The Paris Review, Tin House, Narrative Magazine, TriQuarterly, Esquire, Third Coast, and The Kenyon Review. She holds an MFA in fiction from Brooklyn College and a PhD in Creative Writing from Florida State University. She lives in Hamilton, New York.