Summary (Masterplots II: Short Story Series, Revised Edition)
Dan Williams is a middle-aged man seeking to come to terms with ghosts from his familial past and with the discordances of his familial present. The Williams family, of which Dan is now the patriarch of sorts, is a venerable Maryland clan, with roots that can be traced back to the American Revolution. Dan, a widower with two grown and relocated children, now lives alone in a house that is a physical emblem of familial tradition and history—antiques stand on the oaken floors, two-hundred-year-old oil portraits hang on the walls.
Into this house, Dan welcomes his children for a rare weekend reunion. His daughter, Rachel, a corporate lawyer working in Wilmington, Delaware, is a robust, physical woman; a lacrosse player during her college days, she shares a heartiness with her father that bonds them in an athletic way. She returns with the news that she is leaving the homegrounds of the Chesapeake and relocating to Seattle. Dan’s son, Nick, is a writer currently living in New York City. Dan sees his relationship with his son as problematic—he laments to his daughter that he has “made a hash” of Nick. To complicate matters further, Nick has brought his girlfriend, Patty Keith, with him.
Tragedies, large and small, shadow Dan’s life. His wife, Helen, died in a hit-and-run accident soon after their marriage, leaving a huge gap in his existence as a husband as well as his existence as a man. Dan subsequently sought to fill that gap through...
(The entire section is 910 words.)
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