Cover image for Apple, tree : writers on their parents
Apple, tree : writers on their parents
Physical Description:
xiv, 213 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm.
Introduction / Lise Funderburg -- Predictions / Laura van den Berg -- Curtains / Sallie Tisdale -- Lies my parents (never but maybe should've) told me / Shukree Hassan Tilghman -- Better angels / Clifford Thompson -- The only light we've got / Angelique Stevens -- Household idols / Avi Steinberg -- Just say the word / Lizzie Skurnick -- All knotted up / Dana Prescott -- Sisters / Ann Patchett -- One man's poison / Kyoko Mori -- Unlived lives / Laura Miller -- A measure of perversity / Marc Mewshaw -- Off, off, off, off, off / Daniel Mendelsohn -- What we keep / Donna Masini -- My story about my mother / Mat Johnson -- Never have just one boss / Susan Ito -- Spending the sparkle / Jane Hamilton -- Around the table / Lauren Grodstein -- This truth about chaos / John Freeman -- No indifferent place / Carolyn Ferrell -- And Niriko makes four / Lolis Eric Elie -- Fragments from the long game / Kate Carroll de Gutes -- Self-made men / Leland Cheuk -- The nut doesn't fall far from the fucking nut tree / S. Bear Bergman -- The feeding gene / Karen Grigsby Bates.
Added Author:
Apple, Tree features a slate of compelling, original essays that eloquently consider a trait they've each inherited from a parent, exploring how it affects the lives they lead today, how it shifts their relationship, and how it changes their sense of self. --


Material Type
Call Number
Item Available
Book 920 APP 0 1

On Order



It happens to us all: we think we've settled into an identity, a self, and then out of nowhere and with great force, the traces of our parents appear to us, in us--in mirrors, in gestures, in reaction and reactivity, at weddings and funerals, and in troubled thoughts that crouch in dark corners of our minds.

In this masterful collection of new essays, the apple looks at the tree. Twenty-five writers deftly explore a trait they've inherited from a parent, reflecting on how it affects the lives they lead today--how it shifts their relationship to that parent (sometimes posthumously) and to their sense of self.

Apple, Tree 's all-star lineup of writers brings eloquence, integrity, and humor to topics such as arrogance, obsession, psychics, grudges, table manners, luck, and laundry. Contributors include Laura van den Berg, S. Bear Bergman, John Freeman, Jane Hamilton, Mat Johnson, Daniel Mendelsohn, Kyoko Mori, Ann Patchett, and Sallie Tisdale, among others. Together, their pieces form a prismatic meditation on how we make fresh sense of ourselves and our parents when we see the pieces of them that live on in us.

Author Notes

Lise Funderburg is a writer and editor and a lecturer in creative writing at the University of Pennsylvania. Funderburg's collection of oral histories, Black, White, Other: Biracial Americans Talk about Race and Identity , has become a core text in the study of American multiracial identity in college courses around the world. Her latest book is Pig Candy: Taking My Father South, Taking My Father Home . Her work has appeared in the New York Times , the Washington Post , the Philadelphia Inquirer , National Geographic , Salon and the Nation .

Complete list of contributors: Karen Grigsby Bates, S. Bear Bergman, Kate Carroll de Gutes, Leland Cheuk, Lolis Eric Elie, Carolyn Ferrell, John Freeman, Lauren Grodstein, Jane Hamilton, Susan Ito, Mat Johnson, Donna Masini, Daniel Mendelsohn, Marc Mewshaw, Laura Miller, Kyoko Mori, Ann Patchett, Dana Prescott, Lizzie Skurnick, Avi Steinberg, Angelique Stevens, Clifford Thompson, Shukree Hassan Tilghman, Sallie Tisdale, and Laura van den Berg.

Reviews 1

Publisher's Weekly Review

The old adage, "The apple doesn't fall far from the tree," encouraged Funderburg, a University of Pennsylvania lecturer, to explore its truth in this sparkling anthology of essays on the contributors' parents. Its selections all echo John Freeman's declaration, "Love is in clarity, not sentiment." Freeman, like Kyoko Mori and Avi Steinberg, find benefit in troublesome family legacies. Marc Mewshaw and Jane Hamilton look back on a parent's writing career, and Bear Bergman credits his father's knack for oral, rather than written, storytelling with shaping his own narrative abilities. Lauren Grodstein and Karen Grigsby Bates pay tribute to their mothers' cooking, and Susan Ito and Dana Prescott do the same to the adventurous, extroverted lives of their fathers (both traveling salesmen.) Lolis Eric Elie reflects on the uncommon first name he shares with his father and son, and Ann Patchett muses on the close likeness she bears to her mother. These essays particularly excel with serving up memorable last lines, as in Patchett's piece, in which the nurse overseeing her mother's hospital care comments on how similar they look--"Like sisters?" Patchett asks, to which the nurse replies, "No, like the same person." These essays, in addition to being resonant in their own right, will also move readers to recollect stories of their own parents. Agent: Geri Thoma, Writers House. (Sept.)