Noah, a retired chemistry professor, is facing 80 alone. His wife and only sister have died. He has few interests outside his memories of them, his parents and his grandfather.
As his birthday approaches Noah finds a collection of photographs that his mother kept, and plans to travel to Nice, France where his photographer grandfather lived and worked. During WWII his mother remained there while Noah and his father emigrated to America.
On the eve of the trip Noah takes custody of his great-nephew, Michael, 11, whose father is dead and whose mother is incarcerated. So the boy and old man go to France together. This boy is street-wise and his language is foul. Every word of the dialogue rings true and both man and boy learn to manage each other while looking for the subjects in the old photos.
The story rises above the man/boy cliche and the characters emerge fully realized and likable. A good read.— Anne
About the Author
"We are never too old, Donoghue reminds us, to emerge from our childish dusks. What begins as a larky story of unlikely male bonding turns into an off-center but far richer novel about the unheralded, imperfect heroism of two women -- Michael's incarcerated mother and Noah's long deceased one -- and the way we preserve the past and prepare for the future."—New York Times
"Soul stirring."—O Magazine
"Donoghue has done an excellent job of blending history with an unforgettable story of a young boy and an old man. This a book not to be missed."—The Missourian
"A subtle, entertaining portrait of the relationship--and friction--between age and youth."—The Economist
"Continuously charming."—Washington Post Book World