The Brotherhood of Joseph

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Last night a fever woke me in the dark—the trembled physical brand of fever, yes, but also the soul-er variety, the stir within that whispers: Get up.

I got up.

I'd left the galleys for Brooks Hansen's upcoming memoir, The Brotherhood of Joseph: A Father's Memoir of Infertility and Adoption in the 21st Century, on the downstairs couch. It had arrived via Fed Ex the day before, and in between what I was supposed to be doing on Friday, I was stealing time with it—caught up in the story's spiral, in Brooks' searing, daring prose, in the shout and the song of the life Brooks has been living since I saw him last, perhaps 11 years ago, when he was a much-touted young novelist at Bread Loaf and I was a yearning wannabe. If I could have read Brooks' memoir cover to cover Friday, I would have, but real life intervened, and so this morning, a little hot, a little cold at the same time, I crawled downstairs to finish the story.

BROTHERHOOD is a book, a real book. So knuckled into, so honest, so entirely cinematic and yet, I'm sure of this, because I know a little something about Brooks, so true. It is the story of his search for family. It is the story of all the rock-faced moutains two people choose to tunnel through to find a boy named Theo.

I guess I'm celebrating that today—the achievement of the book itself, which is due out in June, and the triumph of the Hansen family. I'm celebrating the discovery of a book I loved, this reawakening in the height of a fever.


adf3 said...

Just read a framed copy of your article on George Childs. My sister teaches at Childs Elementary School in Philadelphia and will present this to the principal for display. Sadly, like the man himself, the school is in danger of being forgotten. SDP is considering closing the building at 17th and Tasker Streets.

Beth Kephart said...

Dear ADF3:

Thank you so much for this note—it means an enormous amount. Ever since discovering Childs during my research for the book GHOSTS IN THE GARDEN, I've thought of him as Philadelphia's finest, woven the essence of him into FLOW and now into another novel I'm writing. I'm so sorry about the uncertain future now faced at Childs Elementary School. I will think good thoughts.


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