The next best thing…

Oct 23, 2019 | 0 comments

Michael Frank

I think the next best thing to being successful yourself is to watch the upward trajectory of a friend.  I’m talking about careers and avocations here.  Specifically book writing.  And, even more specifically, the achievement of our long-time friend Michael Frank with his just published (October 8th) first novel, What Is Missing (Farrar, Straus and Giroux).

Says The National Book Review: Frank’s psychologically astute, engrossing debut novel demonstrates his keen instinct for family dynamics that was evident in his fascinating memoir, The Mighty Franks, which focused on his bewitching, powerful screenwriter aunt. At the center of What Is Missing are a divorced father who is a famous fertility specialist, his long-limbed adolescent son, and a dazzling Italian American translator, recently widowed – each marked by disappointment, profoundly burdened by deeply held secrets, and yearning for family. From Florence to the New York’s Upper East Side, Frank’s compelling characters each contend with their inchoate sense of self and their abiding need for family. 

Michael Frank’s First Novel

And says Publisher’s Weekly:  Following the memoir The Mighty Franks, Frank’s memorable debut novel showcases father-son relationships and the primal drive to have children. Teenager Andrew Weissman meets Costanza, an Italian-American woman whose famous novelist husband died the previous year, while in Florence with his divorced father, Henry. Then Henry, an infertility specialist, meets Costanza in a museum, and the novel follows a quasi-Oedipal track with father and son attracted to the same captivating woman. Henry and Costanza’s romance takes center stage, as does their desire to conceive a child together, but Costanza and Andrew have a connection that makes Henry uneasy. Frank delves into how Henry’s hubris sabotages his relationships, shows Andrew feeling alienated by Henry, and explores how Costanza comes to grips with her complex marriage. The novel is filled with trenchant moments of sweetness and betrayal, as well a stunning reveal of the harrowing gauntlet infertile women go through to conceive. This is an intricate and dynamic examination of familial ties: both what strengthens them and what can tear them apart.

Michael Fraank’s 2017 Memoir

The list of reviews and commentary on Google fill two computer screens.  Totally impressive!  Not all are one hundred percent positive… but very nearly!  I don’t know that the book is exactly my dish of tea but I am eager to read it,  perhaps to review it, and to clap and cheer some more for Michael!  Stay tuned…  And if you read it before I do, let me know what you think.

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