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The Dependents

Katharine Dion

January 22, 2020

Gene is newly widowed and haunted by his memories. As he bumbles through long days, he questions his wife Maida’s sudden death, his daughter’s motives, and the enduring and meaningful friendship of best friends Ed and Gayle Donnelly. He tries to resurrect the good memories of the two couples raising children in a New Hampshire town and vacationing together every summer at a lake house owned by the Donnellys. He tried to come to terms about his relationship with his only daughter, Dary, who has chosen to raise a fatherless child, has made her home on the other side of the country, and who challenges Gene’s happy memories of everything that happened in their lives. She even challenges his view of her mother. Moving between Gene’s fraught current life and memories of his childhood, coming of age, courtship, marriage, and career, The Dependents (Back Bay Books, 2019) is a sensitive novel about love, parenthood, friendship, and finding contentment. 

Katharine Dion is a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, where she was awarded the Iowa Arts Fellowship. She is also a MacDowell Fellow and the recipient of a grant from the Elizabeth George Foundation. In her early twenties, Dion founded a nonprofit organization called Peer Health Exchange that (still) trains college students to teach a comprehensive health curriculum in public high schools. And she has spent two summers living in a Zen monastery working as a cook. Dion’s introduction to Buddhism came from living several summers at Tassajara, a monastery in the Ventana Wilderness; she is lay ordained in the Soto Zen lineage and helps people meet the grief of ecological destruction as a Buddhist Ecochaplain. She was born in Oakland and lives in Emeryville, California.

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