First Fiction Fridays: The Burden of Memories

Fans of Clara Callan by Richard B. Wright or Possession a Romance by A.S. Byatt will enjoy this new debut novel by Janet Calcaterra. The Burden of Memories (Latitude 46 Publishing) will take you on a journey of two sisters unraveling a long-held family secret about their father’s past. 


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A powerful family drama about fractured lives, secrets, addiction and ultimate reinvention.In 1995, sisters Adrienne and Cass unravel the mystery behind their father, Dr. Alexander Muir, a doctor during the Italian Campaign in World War II’s and later a psychiatrist. As children they barely recall the sudden death of their father, but, through a series of family letters, they learn, despite their mother’s best efforts, that their father suffered from PTSD due to war time experiences and died by his own hand. While their mother is ashamed of her late husband’s downfall, the sisters find learning about their father cathartic, inspiring them to move forward with their lives.I would recommend this book to a friend who likes reading about fractured families and the causes of those ruptures, mystery, history, and, finally, redemption. In this novel, two sisters unravel a secret, long-held by their mother about their father, a doctor in Canada’s Italian campaign of World War Two.  X + Y comparison:X+Y = Clara Callan by Richard B. Wright + Possession a Romance by A.S. Byatt =  The Burden of Memories by Janet Calcaterra
The Burden of Memories is like Richard B. Wright’s Clara Callan, set in the 1930’s about two sisters, which uses letters and diary entries to create narrative.  Another similar book is A.S. Byatt’s Possession a Romance which explores the unknown love life of two Victorian era poets, using letters, diary entries and poetry while two modern day scholars investigating this secret relationship have a parallel romance.

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Janet Calcaterra is an author who has lived with MS since her twenties. Her work has appeared in The Globe and Mail, Sulphur, Reaching Beyond the Saguaros, Cannery Row Magazine, the anthologies Imagination in Action and Gateways and elsewhere. She is a graduate of the MFA program in Creative Writing from Fairleigh Dickinson University. Prior to retiring to write full time, she worked as a bank teller, a kindergarten teacher, a life-skills instructor, an archivist and museum curator, and both a college and university-level creative writing instructor. The Burden of Memories is her first novel. Currently, she lives in North Bay, Ontario, with her husband. Her adult daughters live nearby.