Review: Making peace with the past | Book Reviews and News
, 2022-06-26 00:15:00,
“Ancestor Trouble: A Reckoning and a Reconciliation” by Maud Newton; Random House, 378 pages, $28.99.
Writer and critic Maud Newton’s family has provided her with a profusion of material for her first book, “Ancestor Trouble: A Reckoning and a Reconciliation,” a passionate memoir and investigation of inheritance and bloodlines. Her father, Richard, proud of his slaveholder forbears from the Delta, was a mendacious, sadistic disciplinarian who prized his family tree above all things.
Her mother, Sandy, came from dirt-poor “Texas rabble-rousers, scoundrels and misfits” for whom “popular family activities” were “dipping snuff and quarrelling.” Richard married Sandy believing that the two of them would add to his line’s excellence by producing smart children; Sandy, who had recently attempted suicide, was already in her 30s and divorced — not ideal selling points in the marriage market — saw the arrangement as a means to a comfortable, settled life. Love had no place; instead, as Newton puts it, “I came into being through a kind of homegrown eugenics project.”
People are also reading…
That’s only the beginning — or rather the end point, as Newton tunnels deep into the past to investigate the truth of family tales about her ancestors’ lives and deeds.
Did her grandfather really marry 13 times and get shot in the stomach by one of his wives? Did her great-grandfather kill his best friend with a hay hook, go mad, and die in an insane asylum?…
To read the original article, go to Click here