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From the bestselling author of the The House of God comes an ambitious vel about the complicated relationships between mothers and sons, doctors and patients, the past and the present, and love and death... Settled into a relationship with an Italian yoga instructor and working in Europe, Dr. Orville Rose's peace is shaken by his mother's death. On his return to Columbia, a Hudson River town of quirky people and plagued by breakage, he learns that his mother has willed him a large sum of money, her 1981 Chrysler, and her Victorian house in the center of town. There's one odd catch: he must live in her house for one year and thirteen days. As he struggles with his decision--to stay and meet the terms of the will or return to his life in Italy--Orville reconnects with family, reunites with former friends, and comes to terms with old rivals and bitter memories. In the process he'll discover his own history, as well as his mother's, and finally learn what it really means to be a healer, and to be healed.
Samuel Shem is a novelist, playwright, and, for three decades, a member of the Harvard Medical School faculty. His novels include The House of God, Mount Misery, and Fine. He is coauthor with his wife, Janet Surrey, of the hit Off-Broadway play Bill W. and Dr. Bob, the story of the founding of Alcoholics Anonymous (winner of the 2007 Performing Arts Award of the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence), and We Have to Talk: Healing Dialogues Between Men and Women.