Far from the Tree: A Dozen Kinds of Love

Far from the Tree: A Dozen Kinds of Love

Paperback Chatto & Windus

By (author) Andrew Solomon

List price $31.24

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  • Publisher: CHATTO & WINDUS
  • Format: Paperback | 976 pages
  • Dimensions: 128mm x 194mm x 22mm | 240g
  • Publication date: 1 October 2013
  • Publication City/Country: London
  • ISBN 10: 0701188766
  • ISBN 13: 9780701188764
  • Sales rank: 40,938

Product description

BBC Radio 4 Book of the Week. "Andrew Solomon's investigation of many of the most intense challenges that parenthood can bring compels us all to re-examine how we understand human difference. Perhaps the greatest gift of this monumental book, full of facts and full of feelings, is that it constantly makes one think, and think again." (Philip Gourevitch). In this seminal new study of family, Andrew Solomon tells the stories of parents who learn to deal with their exceptional children and find profound meaning in doing so. He introduces us to families coping with deafness, dwarfism, Down syndrome, autism, schizophrenia, disability, with children who are prodigies, who are conceived in rape, who become criminals, who are transgender. While each of these characteristics is potentially isolating, Solomon documents repeated triumphs of human love and compassion to show that the shared experience of difference is what unites us. "Reading Far from the Tree is a mind-opening experience." (Eric Kandel). Drawing on interviews with over three hundred families, Solomon documents ordinary people making courageous choices, whether considering prenatal screening for genetic disorders, cochlear implants for the deaf, or gender reassignment surgery. Parents and children are challenged to their limits, but often grow closer as a result; many discover supportive communities of others similarly affected; some are inspired to become activists, celebrating the conditions they once feared. Elegantly reported by a spectacularly original thinker, Far From The Tree explores themes of generosity, acceptance and tolerance - and shows how love for one's children can transcend every prejudice. This crucial and revelatory book expands our definition of what it is to be human. "A brave and ambitious work, bringing together science, culture and a powerful empathy. Solomon tells us that we have more in common with each other - even with those who seem anything but normal - than we would ever have imagined." (Malcolm Gladwell).

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Author information

Andrew Solomon is a journalist and lecturer of politics, culture and psychology who writes regularly for the New Yorker, Newsweek, and the Guardian. He is a Lecturer in Psychiatry at Cornell University and Special Adviser on LGBT Affairs to Yale University's Department of Psychiatry. His highly acclaimed international study of depression, The Noonday Demon won the 2001 National Book Award and was a finalist for the 2002 Pulitzer Prize. He lives with his husband and son in New York and London.

Review quote

"The tales Solomon returns with, of profound disability and extreme differences overcome, make it a bible of empathy and inclusion" -- Cressida Connolly Spectator "Andrew Solomon's Far From The Tree is a prodigious, illuminating book about the challenge of being a parent - especially when children are out of the ordinary" -- Tim Adams Observer "Life-affirming, thought provoking and highly readable, the book was compiled over 10 years of interviews and I found it deeply moving" -- Kate Kellaway Observer "Many accounts are desperately moving, but Solomon goes far beyond cheap pity... The book is an exquisite written study of parental love - as well as "a how-to manual for receptivity" -- Kerry Hudson Herald "[A] magnificent study of disability and identity differences" -- Susannah Meadows New York Times

Editorial reviews

"Parenting," writes Andrew Solomon in Far from the Tree, "is no sport for perfectionists." It's an irony of the book, 10 years in the making and his first since The Noonday Demon, that by militating against perfectionism, he only leaves the reader in greater awe of the art of the achievable. The book starts out as a study of parents raising "difficult" children, and ends up as an affirmation of what it is to be human.