About the Book
As Duane Coulter lies unconscious and dying, his family gathers at the hospital. Separated by time, distance, and a fear of delving into their past, his children approach this reunion of siblings with ambivalence. While they have never questioned their love for each other and for their mother, their desire to live in the present and bury old hurts is strong. The gathering will bring to an end the decision each had made to never see their father again, while the impending death and funeral will inevitably mean a dredging up of the past. Can they find comfort in each other and forge stronger bonds, or will their secrets drive them apart again?
The first to arrive is Scott. At age fifty, he has learned to accept his frailties and live with his problems, but has solved few of them. The fear of failing his loved ones is strong, and so are the barriers he places between himself and his family. Next comes Leal, the most successful, and outwardly, at least, the one whose emotions are most in check. Only Scott and their mother, Rose, realize that Leal lives every moment anticipating the next catastrophe, living always with a feeling of impending doom acquired by experience. Carol, the youngest, has long since resigned herself to the life she leads. Estranged from her only child, and close only to her mother, Carol is ruled by the alcohol that fuels her self-sustaining state of denial.
The two half brothers, Daryl and Ray, are practically strangers to the rest of the family. Although Daryl had made only aborted attempts to live with his father and the other children, it had been enough to damage him. Always unable to please Duane Coulter, he had never stopped trying. Ray had never tried. His mother had seen the wisdom of keeping Ray from his father, and, fortunately for him, had had the means to do so, but it had also kept him from his brothers and sisters. With his mother and stepfather now gone, Ray feels the need to forge a bond with this other family.
In a period of just under twenty-four hours, the Coulter family will relive everything. The secrets, the shame, the perils of their childhood, their adult mistakes, and the tragedies that ruled their lives will all surface. It can drive them further apart or bring them together. With family, it is never easy.