Lilith’s Fiction Editor Yona Zeldis McDonough spoke to memoirist and novelist Kathryn Harrison about her latest foray into family history, On Sunset.
“Blending family history and mythology, anecdotes and photographs, this book is not simply one woman’s open love letter to two magnificently eccentric grandparents; it is also a testament to the enduring power of memory,” writes Kirkus.
YZM: You have written extensively—and well as memorably and beautifully—about your family, including your grandparents, in other essays. Why did you decide to focus exclusively on them now?
KH: I don’t so much decide to write a book as arrive at it. In the case of On Sunset, it’s only now, in my late fifties, with three adult children, that I am beginning to understand what it means to take on the care of a child—a newborn—at 71 and 62—the magnitude of my grandparents’ love. I never felt myself a burden shouldered for my irresponsible teenage mother.