The Caregiver (Hardcover)
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“The Caregiver is a rich and poignant tale of human nature at its best and worst, depicted with elegance and compassion.”—CURTIS SITTENFELD, New York Times bestselling author of Eligible and You Think It, I’ll Say It
"The Caregiver is a triumph…The threats of the world are ever-present, but so is a brave and defiant endurance, a sense that the heart can survive the worst defeats, the worst losses, the worst regimes. Samuel Park was a treasure, and he has left us with one."—REBECCA MAKKAI, author of The Great Believers
From the critically acclaimed author of This Burns My Heart comes gorgeous, emotionally wise tale about a daughter who unearths the hidden life of her enigmatic mother.
Mara Alencar’s mother Ana is the moon, the sun, the stars. Ana, a struggling voice-over actress, is an admirably brave and recklessly impulsive woman who does everything in her power to care for her little girl. With no other family or friends her own age, Ana eclipses Mara’s entire world. They take turns caring for each other—in ways big and small.
Their arrangement begins to unravel when Ana becomes involved with a civilian rebel group attempting to undermine the city's torturous Police Chief, who rules over 1980s Rio de Janeiro with terrifying brutality. Ana makes decisions that indelibly change their shared life. When Mara is forced to escape, she emigrates to California where she finds employment as a caregiver to a young woman dying of stomach cancer. It’s here that she begins to grapple with her turbulent past and starts to uncover vital truths—about her mother, herself, and what it means to truly take care of someone.
Told with vivid imagery and subtle poignancy, The Caregiver is a moving and profound story that asks us to investigate who we are—as children and parents, immigrants and citizens, and ultimately, humans looking for vital connectivity.
About the Author
Samuel Park was an Associate Professor of Creative Writing at Columbia College Chicago. He graduated from Stanford University and the University of Southern California, where he earned his doctorate. He is the author of the novella Shakespeare’s Sonnets and the writer-director of a short film of the same name, which was an official selection of numerous domestic and international film festivals. He is also the author of the novels This Burns My Heart and The Caregiver. His nonfiction has appeared in The New York Times. Born in Brazil and raised in Los Angeles, he split his time between Chicago and Los Angeles. In April 2017, Samuel Park died of stomach cancer at the age of 41 shortly after finishing The Caregiver.
PRAISE FOR THE CAREGIVER BY SAMUEL PARK
“A beautiful testament to [Park’s] extraordinary talents as a storyteller. Park himself was diagnosed with stomach cancer in 2014, in his 30s, and died shortly after finishing this book—making this his final novel. In prose that rings clear and true, Park shepherds his characters through the streets of Copacabana to the posh hills of Bel Air. This is an elegy that reads, in some moments, like a thriller—and, in others, like a meditation on what it means to be alive…A ferocious page-turner with deep wells of compassion for the struggles of the living—and the sins of the dead.”
—KIRKUS REIVEWS (STARRED REVIEW)
“Park’s latest hauntingly examines the codependent mother-daughter bond amid complicated layers created by the pursuit of truth…Affecting.”
“I love Samuel Park, and I love the stories he tells. The Caregiver is a rich and poignant tale of human nature at its best and worst, depicted with elegance and compassion.”
—CURTIS SITTENFELD, New York Times bestselling author of Eligible
"The Caregiver is a triumph, a clear-eyed novel full of humanity and compassion and life. The threats of the world are ever-present, but so is a brave and defiant endurance, a sense that the heart can survive the worst defeats, the worst losses, the worst regimes. Samuel Park was a treasure, and he has left us with one."
—REBECCA MAKKAI, author of The Great Believers
“A novel both gripping and tender, told through a lyrical, thoughtful voice that enchanted me from the first page. Mara's unique story would not let me go.”
—ELEANOR BROWN, New York Times bestselling author of The Weird Sisters and The Light of Paris
"An addictive, propulsive read that is both thoughtful and thought-provoking. Samuel Park writes with a gimlet eye about love, life and death, able to pierce even the toughest of hearts."
—NAMI MUN, author of Miles from Nowhere
"The brilliant Samuel Park has left us a deft and urgent masterpiece about life and death and all the things that make us human. The Caregiver soars like a hymn, delivering heartbreak and joy and lifting readers into a place of compassion and understanding that feels entirely new."
—JIM GAVIN, author of Middle Men and creator of AMC’s “Lodge 49”