INHERITING EDITH BY ZOE FISHMAN
PUBLISHED BY HARPER COLLINS
REVIEW BY EMILY MILLS
Inheriting Edith is a beautiful book. It has characters that feel real and are perhaps people you would like to meet. The story reflects on the choices made in different lifetimes and the impact, foreseen or otherwise, of those choices. In essence, it is a tale about how our understanding of the past positions us to choose a positive future.
The suicide of writer Liza dramatically changes the life of Maggie Sheets, a college educated cleaner for New York’s wealthy, and single mother of a two year old. Liza leaves Maggie her home in Sag Harbour (like the much-touted Hamptons), enough money to live comfortably, and her mother Edith. Edith is in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease. Both adult women are intelligent, strong and capable. Their interactions could have been beset with clichés but, thank goodness, Fishman is too good a writer to rely on what has been written before. The two women come to gradually respect each other. As a result of that mutual respect they come to learn more about Liza and themselves.
Fishman treats her characters as if they are real people. Her writing style makes each character’s self-reflection believable and refreshingly uncomplicated. The choices made by the characters and their subsequent behaviour is consistent with that of intelligent adult women and as a result, is worth the reader’s respect.
There is no outrageous, horrible scandal in this story either; instead there is simply the process of living and it is wonderful.
Find this novel in store at Planet Books. Ask the friendly staff for guidance too, and they’ll be more than happy to order you in a copy if it’s already sold out.