This series is titled Still Life with Memories. Check out the book descriptions and the ways they relate to each other:
Apart from Love
(volume I and II of Still Life with Memories, woven together, with two additional chapters):
Apart from Love contains two threads, volume I and II of Still Life with Memories, woven together (along with two new chapters) around the same events in 1980, when Ben returns to meet his father, Lenny, and his new wife, Anita. It is then that he discovers a family secret.
My Own Voice
(volume I of Still Life with Memories)
Ten years ago, when she was seventeen, Anita started an affair with Lenny, in spite of knowing that he was a married man. Now married to him and carrying his child, she finds herself condemned to compete with Natasha’s shadow, the memory of her brilliance back in her prime, before she succumbed to early-onset Alzheimer’s. Despite Anita’s lack of education, her rough slang, and what happened to her in the past, Lenny tries to transform her. He wants her to become Natasha.
Faced with his compelling wish, and the way he writes her as a character in his book, how can Anita find a voice of her own? And when his estranged son, Ben, comes back and lives in the same small apartment, can she keep the balance between the two men, whose desire for her is marred by guilt and blame?
The White Piano
(volume II of Still Life with Memories)
Coming back to his childhood home after years of absence, Ben is unprepared for the secret, which is now revealed to him: his mother, Natasha, who used to be a brilliant pianist, is losing herself to early-onset Alzheimer’s, which turns the way her mind works into a riddle. His father has remarried, and his new wife, Anita, looks remarkably similar to Natasha—only much younger. In this state of being isolated, being apart from love, how will Ben react when it is so tempting to resort to blame and guilt? “In our family, forgiveness is something you pray for, something you yearn to receive—but so seldom do you give it to others.”
Behind his father’s back, Ben and Anita find themselves increasingly drawn to each other. They take turns using an old tape recorder to express their most intimate thoughts, not realizing at first that their voices are being captured by him. These tapes, with his eloquent speech and her slang, reveal the story from two opposite viewpoints.
What emerges in this family is a struggle, a desperate, daring struggle to find a path out of conflicts, out of isolation, from guilt to forgiveness.
The Music of Us
(volume III of Still Life with Memories)
In 1970, Lenny can no longer deny that his wife is undergoing a profound change. Despite her relatively young age, her mind succumbs to forgetfulness. Now, he goes as far back as the moment he met Natasha, when he was a soldier and she—a star, brilliant yet illusive. Natasha was a riddle to him then, and to this day, with all the changes she has gone through, she still is.
“Digging into the past, mining its moments, trying to piece them together this way and that, dusting off each memory of Natasha, of how we were, the highs and lows of the music of us, to find out where the problem may have started?”
To their son, Ben, that may seem like an exercise in futility. For Lenny, it is a necessary process of discovery, one that is as tormenting as it is delightful. He often wonders: can we ever understand, truly understand each other—soldier and musician, man and woman, one heart and another? Will we ever again dance together to the same beat? Is there a point where we may still touch?
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Still Life with Memories