A NovelBook - 2009
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The Sentimentalists portrays the relationship between a woman and her dying father. Portrayed as charming, tenderhearted, gruff, but well intentioned, Napoleon, the father, seems haunted by his experiences during the Vietnam war. The unnamed narrator describes several projects that he begins with enthusiasm, but, unable to complete, ultimately gives them away. By giving these objects away, the daughter wonders what he might be depriving himself and his family of?
Having abandoning her job and live-in boyfriend, the narrator returns to the only place that feels stable, the home of her father's friend Henry. And it is at Henry's place in Canada that she and her sister settle their father when he can't look after himself. Much of the book is spent here, a small town that was moved after the valley was flooded. The narrator often boats on the new lake looking for remnants of old farm buildings, wondering and exploring "what defines a person's life"? Is it what we remember? Is it what has happened to us? Is it the stories we tell others about ourselves? Or what we have dreamed? What our intentions were? Ultimately, after exploring Napoleon's war stories, she accepts that she loves her father unconditionally. A novel of thoughts and impressions.
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