The Tender Land: A Family Love Story
Kathleen Finneran


An indelible memoir of family life, The Tender Land is a love story unlike any other. The Finnerans - Irish Catholics in St. Louis - are a seemingly unexceptional family. Five children, an attentive, affectionate mother, a hardworking father - theirs is a story seldom told, one that makes manifest how rich and truly extraordinary is the ordinary daily experience we take for granted. Beautifully rendering the emotional, spiritual, and physical terrain of family life - with its closeness and disconnection, its intimacy and estrangement - The Tender Land pays tribute to the love between parents and children, brothers and sisters. Ultimately, it is this love that sustains the Finneran family. At the heart of The Tender Land lies a catastrophic event: the suicide at fifteen of the author's younger brother after a public humiliation in junior high school. A gentle, handsome boy, Sean Finneran was a straight-A student and gifted athlete whose death might have shaken the stability of any family. In quiet, luminous language that is the book's hallmark, Kathleen Finneran deftly interweaves past and present, showing us how inseparable they are and how the long accumulation of love and memory helps her family overcome its terrible loss. The Tender Land is a testament to the always complicated ways we love one another. In the end, the Finnerans are a family much like the reader's own - like every other family, like no other family.


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