A Novel Explores What Happens When Adoption Means Maladaptation

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By Jessica Winter

By Ashley Nelson Levy

Ashley Nelson Levy’s debut novel begins: “Last night I told you that today might be hard for us.” The narrator is addressing her younger brother, Danny, on his wedding day. She seems irked by the commonplace familial obligations: composing a toast, helping to pick out the cake. The tone is brittle; the annoyances seem petty. Soon, “Immediate Family” opens out to reveal the years of sibling grievances informing these frosty opening scenes, although a central tension of the story lies in how much of the blame belongs to Danny and how much to his circumstances.

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