Books Fall Picks 2013

Half the Kingdom

Lore Segal • October 1, Melville House,

176 pp., $23.95

The venerable Lore Segal, now 82, saucily invites readers to stereotype her as an old person with her unflinching but humorous look into the waning lives at a nursing home called Cedars of Lebanon. A sudden, mysterious rise in the number of admittees with Alzheimer's disease has sparked intense speculation about the institution and, for Segal's purposes, a whole lot of paranoia. Half the Kingdom follows the home's manager, Joe Bernstine, his wife, Jenny, their obnoxious daughter, Bethy, and numerous employees and patients to illuminate the freaked-out state of our nation, submerged in conspiracy theory, worried about surveillance, ignorant of the past, and headed toward an uncertain future.

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