This review originally ran in the Tuesday, August 20th issue of Shelf Awareness for Readers. If you don't already subscribe, sign up here to receive a bi-weekly dose of readerly goodness in your inbox.
Fin first becomes aware of Lady, his half-sister, when he overhears his parents discussing her in hushed voices. Child that he is, he is convinced that she is literally one half of a sister (the bottom half) and is unreasonably surprised when he meets her and realizes she is, in fact, an entire person--a beautiful, interesting, fascinating person. Following his parents' death, Lady takes Fin from his family's quiet Connecticut farm to her house in Greenwich Village. Surrounded by Lady and her lovers and the culture of 1960s New York, Fin begins to grow up, but as he does so, he realizes Lady needs as much looking after as he does.
Fin & Lady, Cathleen Schine's ninth novel, is a perfect pick for audiophiles: though the narrator seems to be an uninvolved third party at first blush, subtle clues reveal that she is, in fact, a confidante of Fin's, relaying the story to listeners after hearing it from him directly. This person, brought to life by Anne Twomey's gentle voice, succeeds in capturing at once the innocence of Fin's youth, his loss of innocence as a teenager and his growth into adulthood--all while breathing life into a striking era of New York City history. Ultimately, both unnamed narrator and listener become invested in Fin and Lady and their growth--both as a family and as individuals--as they fight to be free and happy in their lives.
Fin & Lady | Cathleen Schine, nar. Anne Twomey | Macmillan Audio | July 2013 | 8 CDs, 9 hours