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When things look like this


It took no more than a moment for Otto Grant to end his life on December 30, 1962, but twenty-seven years later, Otto's daughter, Annabeth, is haunted by the legacy of his suicide. In her novel, When Things Look Like This, Amy Burton Forrest conjures the fractured world of a man suffering from debilitating depression in the face of Cold War anxiety, the pressures of capitalism, and the fear of hereditary mental illness. Otto's life revolves around his work as a banker in San Francisco, family life in Marin County and stolen days at his ranch in California's Anderson Valley. His world is richly textured and full of meaning, so why did he have to die? As a beloved daughter struggles with her father's honor, his violence and his affection, When Things Look Like This argues that time and memory are fictions and that it is impossible to truly know even those we love most. Over the course of fifty sections, Forrest relies on the accumulation of details and memories to create a narrative about family, social class and the creative act of remembering

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