The Memory Keeper’s Daughter by Kim Edwards
The Memory Keeper’s Daughter
“Photography is all about secrets,” David said […]
“The secrets we all have and will never tell.” (201)
The image on the cover of this book is very evocative. As you read the pages you can feel its aptness. The story touches the core of the reader’s heart as it makes him smile, cry and at times weep.
The novel starts with Norah and David Henry waiting for their baby to be born David is a doctor, who is also an amateur photographer. The first pages feel like slow shots zoomed out until the story finds its focus in the coming pages.
Their baby comes unexpectedly early on a night of a snow storm. All plans made by Henry, as a father and a doctor have to be altered. The gynecologist is unable to reach. There is no choice but for the father to take up the role of the doctor. With the help of the nurse Caroline, he delivers the child, a healthy baby boy. Within minutes, he realizes there is another baby, and he is going to have twins.
The novel is set in the 1960 when few ways were available to find out about twins.
As doctor David looks at his tiny daughter, he immediately realizes that she has Down’s syndrome which spells a grim future. Within no time, he takes a crucial decision to give away his infant daughter to a care home. He does not want her malady affect their picture perfect world. He asks Caroline to take her to a home a little away from the place. Caroline finds herself in a difficult situation where a part of her rebels and another part agree. Torn between love and duty she goes away with the infant on that fateful stormy night.
Dr Henry tells his wife Norah that they had twins but one of them was a still born. Meanwhile Caroline takes the baby girl away to the home, but decides not to admit her to that place. While coming back her car breaks down near a gas station, and she meets a stranger who helps her to return to her home. Caroline takes two days to think and decides on a plan to relocate with the baby. At the last minute, she takes a chance to meet Dr. Henry and finds a memorial service for the still born daughter.
She goes away to another city as fate carries her. What follows is a tale destiny weaved.
A powerful novel which explores human relationships as life takes unexpected turns. It captures the drama of life as if in photographs. Uncannily, Dr. Henry is also an amateur photographer who loves to click interesting pictures. His pictures speak the silent words in the novel. Family ties help in surviving tragedies as long-buried secrets become known.
Kim Edwards had deftly crafted this novel. It lingers in the reader’s mind for a long time. No wonder it was a New York Times Best Seller in United States. This book was also made into a movie.