Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Faith by Jennifer Haigh

These questions will plague certain readers-- those raised, I suspect, in a different sort of family.  Evasion comes naturally to my tribe, this loose jumble of McGann, Devine and Breen.  Thre reasons for this are not so mysterious.  My father is a man of shameful habits.  My mother is lace-curtain Irish.  She will settle for correctness, or the appearance of it; but in her heart she wants only to be good.  The space between them is criss-crossed with silent bridges, built of half-truths and suppressions.  The chasm beneath is deep and wide.

Those same bridges exist across generations:  my mother and her parents, my father and his.  On both sides, we are a family of open secrets.  When I was a child they enclosed my innocence like a tourniquet.  Without knowing quite how I knew it, I understood what might be said, and what must be kept quiet.  If from the outside the rules appeared arbitrary, from the inside they were perfectly clear.

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