Episode 40: All I Love and Know by Judith Frank
When Daniel's twin brother, Joel, and Joel's wife, Ilana, are killed in a terrorist bombing in Jerusalem, Daniel and his partner, Matt, fly to Israel to assume custody of the couple's children, 6-year-old Gal and 1-year-old Noam. "I'm in a foreign country where I don't speak the language!" Matt wants to cry out when they land, and it's true -- for him, for Daniel, for Gal, for Noam -- in even more ways than he knows. How do you find your way across the uncharted territory of parenting; where is there a map to help you get from anger to forgiveness; are there lessons to learn the language of grief? Simultaneously dealing with the particularities of the Israeli/Palestinian political situation and of what it means to be a gay couple in today's world, this novel is also about the universalities of love and family: the way they tear us apart and the way they are also the only things that keep us together.
Host Cyd Oppenheimer talks with author Judith Frank about where this book started for her ("It was [always] going to begin with a terrorist attack and end with the day that gay marriage became legal in Massachusetts. I had a hunch that they might have something to say to each other"); writing from a child's point of view ("I knew I was going to be using my full vocabulary to be describing her thoughts"); and why she thought a book about gay men was more likely to sell than a book about lesbians ("It's just sexism. Men still count as universal human subjects [but] lesbians . . . can't stand for larger humanity the way that men can, and the way that men always have").
Guest readers Amy Vatner and Sophfronia Scott join Oppenheimer to discuss language and loss, fears and forgiveness, and scars and survival.