A mother seeks freedom for her young son—and rediscovers her own need for it in the process—in this powerful novel about family, identity, and love.
Once a painter, a traveler, a lover of light, Anna Simon has been living in the dark ever since she gave birth to Max, a child with a rare genetic disease for whom even an hour in sunlight could prove fatal. For years, Anna has home schooled Max and structured her life around his, despite the fact that her husband, Ian, favors mainstreaming. When Anna learns of a camp in upstate New York for children with the disease, she sees room for a compromise—a sanctuary for Max, a place where he can interact with other children and be both safe and free.
And so the summer that Max is nine, the family heads off to Camp Luna. At first, it seems like the answer to their problems. But as Anna is drawn into life there and gets to know Hal, the camp’s charismatic founder, freedom and safety prove to be complicated things. What begins as a novel about a mother with a sick child quickly becomes an intricate examination of one woman’s identity as Anna—given sudden breathing room—looks around at her life and finds that she has lost track of essential pieces of herself. What, exactly, are safety and freedom? And at what cost—to one’s self and the people in one’s life—should they be protected and pursued?
Beautifully written, emotionally wrenching, Awake showcases the strengths of Elizabeth Graver’s acclaimed previous novel, The Honey Thief, the focus shifting from childhood to adulthood, to limn the passions and intricacies of a woman’s mind and heart.