The Tender Land: A Family Love Story (Paperback)

The Tender Land: A Family Love Story By Kathleen Finneran Cover Image

The Tender Land: A Family Love Story (Paperback)

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A superb portrait of family life, THE TENDER LAND is a love story unlike any other. The Finnerans -- parents and five children, Irish Catholics in St. Louis -- are a seemingly unexceptional family. Theirs is a story seldom told, yet it makes manifest how rich and truly extraordinary the ordinary daily experience we take for granted is. In quietly luminous language, Kathleen Finneran renders the emotional, spiritual, and physical terrain of family life -- its closeness and disconnection, its intimacy and estrangement--and pays tribute to the love between parents and children, brothers and sisters.
Ultimately, it is this love that sustains the Finnerans, for at the heart of THE TENDER LAND lies a catastrophic event: the suicide at fifteen of the author's younger brother after a public humiliation in junior high school. A gentle, handsome boy, Sean was a straight-A student and gifted athlete, especially treasured by every member of his family. Masterfully, the book interweaves past and present, showing how inseparable they are, and how the long accumulation of love and memory helps the Finnerans survive their terrible loss.
THE TENDER LAND is a testament to the always complicated ways in which we love one another. In the end, the Finnerans are a family much like the reader's own: like every other family, like no other family.

KATHLEEN FINNERAN was born in St. Louis and is a graduate of Washington University. She was the recipient of a Whiting Award in 2001. The Tender Land is her first book. She lives in St. Louis.


Product Details ISBN: 9780618340743
ISBN-10: 0618340742
Publisher: Mariner Books
Publication Date: June 11th, 2003
Pages: 304
Language: English

"Finneran spirals stories of her...brother...with the deadly darkness that descended on him after a humiliating moment...Her parents and her siblings come vividly into view ..." Booklist, ALA

"Finneran mines her brother's short, puzzling life with acuity and grace..." The Chicago Tribune

"The Tender Land is a penetrating account of family life that promises to give readers insight into their own relationships." USA Today

"Like life itself, this memoir evokes both sadness and joy." St. Louis Post-Dispatch

"So spare and beautiful in its entirety . . . that the reading experience is literally stunning." Out Magazine

"So spare and beautiful in its entirety, that the reading experience is literally stunning." Out Magazine

"[an] eloquent and moving memoir . . . the language is hauntingly expressive . . . " The Advocate

"Both an outpouring of unbearable grief and a celebration of her family's love and humor." About.com

"THE TENDER LAND is a rare and wondrous book, a work of such stature, wisdom, depth, and passion that it will surely become a classic. Kathleen Finneran has created a family portrait that is alive, poignant, and totally absorbing. She is the real thing; this is a book that will transcend time." --Tillie Olsen, author of TELL ME A RIDDLE

"Splendid." Minneapolis Star-Tribune —