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Natural Elements

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Description

In this moving, layered novel of memory and family, celebrated author Richard Mason tells the story of a mother and daughter, one caught in the past, one racing toward the future.
 
Joan is eighty years old, a gifted amateur pianist who can no longer play because of her arthritic hands. Joan’s daughter, Eloise, is an ambitious hedge fund manager who has decided to move her mother to an assisted-living facility. As a last hurrah, Eloise plans a trip to Joan’s childhood home in South Africa. What Joan discovers there summons long-buried secrets and opens up an entirely new world. Natural Elements is a dazzling tale of history and longing, and the high-stakes, full-tilt embrace of life.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

From Publishers Weekly

Jan 26, 2009 – Mason’s ambitious second novel (after Drowning People) takes a contemporary aging parent story and weaves in elements of a corporate thriller and a bit of historical fiction flecked with fantasy. Eloise McAllister is facing the problem of how best to care for her mother, Joan, an amateur pianist whose family’s nasty experiences during the Boer Wars have begun to color her vivid dream life. While juggling hundreds of millions of dollars as a London hedge fund manager, Eloise settles Joan into a nursing home, but before she does, the two take a trip to South Africa to visit Joan’s childhood home. While there, Eloise’s risky (and large) investment in a new metal alloy tanks, and Joan’s hallucinations—brought about via hallucinated piano pedals—fail to improve. These two story lines drive the narrative and eventually compel Eloise to commit a supreme act of filial compassion. An array of strange characters play pivotal roles, such as an eccentric 16-year-old, a lover who happens to be a scientific genius, and an evil nursing home worker. Though Mason tends to spell everything out, the South African passages are sublime and the mother-daughter relationship well done.
Natural Elements
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  • $10.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Literary
  • Published: Mar 17, 2009
  • Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
  • Seller: Penguin Random House LLC
  • Print Length: 416 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

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