Title: Degrees of Love
Author: Basch, Rachel
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company, New York
Publication Date: 1998
Edition: First Edition
Book Condition: NF
D-j Condition: F
Comments: One page has been folded. Top of front board has one spot.
Synopsis: In the tradition of The Good Mother and The Deep End of the Ocean, a beautifully written first novel about a family’s worst nightmare. Jack Keliher and Lily Sterne lead ordinary lives. But when their eighteen-month-old daughter, Katie, is accidentally burned while home alone with Lily and rushed to the hospital, their ordered world begins to unravel. An emergency room physician’s report brings the state to take temporary custody of Katie, setting in motion a bureaucratic ordeal in which Lily and Jack are faced with every parent’s worst fear: that their child will be taken away from them. Lily fears that her history of mental instability and postpartum depression will be used against her; Jack, in turn, blames Lily. Rachel Basch’s quietly compelling narrative alternates between the voices of Jack and Lily as they reveal their increasingly divergent responses to the accident and its consequences. Their fierce struggle to keep their baby safe begins to take its toll on their relationship and their lives, and they are forced to grapple with the emotional and spiritual differences that slowly drive them apart. This exquisite novel’s power reaches far beyond the story of an accident and its effect on a family. In depicting the anguish of a family in crisis, Basch has written a stunning work about the nature of privacy, the relationship of work and self, and the fragility–and ultimately, the importance–of love.