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Henry’s Version, by Brett Shapiro

Why do we remember what we remember?

In his seventies, Henry feels the gentle knock of mortality at his door. His future has narrowed, leaving insufficient room for the entirety of his past to accompany him on the final stretch. Milestones and minutiae vie for equal passage: the trauma of his red hair; his very first crush on a neighborhood boy; his marriage to Leonard (of all people) and the miracle of their son and granddaughter; his parents’ love, toxicity, and L-shaped sofa, which imprint every home he’s lived in; and all the flirtations, frictions, teetering starts, and definitive endings along the way. What to let go of? What to hold onto? How to weave it together to shape a twilight version of life that, when all is said and nearly done, feels fully lived?

Henry’s story is modest, taut, and expansive—a tribute to the human impulse to find coherence and meaning in our lives. As an arbiter of how we attempt to make sense of the world, he is a character readers won’t soon forget.

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