My Father’s Wife and My Daughter’s Emu, by Nina Dabek
These moving and bittersweet stories are brought to life by Dabek’s eye for the perfect, elucidating detail.
Alison Bechdel, author of Fun Home
Nina Dabek’s scintillating, insightful stories live at the intersection of funny and sad. Brilliantly depicting moments in the life of one worried, loving woman, they remind us that ordinary life is never ordinary, and is also more dangerous than we might think. Still, with the right partner—a woman as loving as she is, but calmer—and two always-surprising daughters, happiness may be saved. I loved reading this book and did not want it to end.
Alice Mattison, author of Conscience
I loved this book. Nina Dabek sketches domestic life so delicately and in such a disarmingly frank way. Plus, her perfect deadpan humor kills me. Nostalgia, grief, gratitude, devotion, it’s all here—all the beauty and difficulty of living in the world.
Catherine Newman, author of Catastrophic Happiness
My Father’s Wife and My Daughter’s Emu is a touching and nuanced portrait of a woman’s passage from the delusions of childhood to the revelations and burdens of adulthood. Nina Dabek is a wise, subtle writer, and her debut collection is impressive.
Lynne Sharon Schwartz, author of Truthtelling
The middle of three sisters, Naomi grows up in late 20th century New York, a city as rich in opportunity as it is fraught with hidden hazards. Not the least of these spring from the minefields of family life. Just as Naomi comes into her own, history enters to reframe the narrative. Dabek is a writer of considerable clarity and grace. The story she tells, in propulsive prose, is affirming, yes, and utterly contemporary, but it’s not without shadows giving the whole a Chekhovian richness and depth.
Askold Melnyczuk, author of The Man Who Would Not Bow
In the first half of this psychological and subtly humorous collection of linked short stories we meet the child and adolescent Naomi, who lives in the Bronx with her two sisters and her parents. Naomi not only grapples with the complexity of her relationships, her family’s mysteries, and the world around her, but also finds her way to her lesbian identity. In the second half, the adult Naomi experiences the challenges and pleasures of lesbian motherhood, while continuing to untangle her father’s past and present and her complicated love for him.
My Father’s Wife and My Daughter’s Emu by Nina Dabek follows the trajectory of one lesbian’s life – from childhood to motherhood – as she makes sense of the world.