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Leave the Lights On When You Go

392 pages6 hours


When Janis Ahlenberg is twelve, her mother gives birth to triplets—a turn of events that leads to Janis being prematurely pressed out into the world. Many years later—as a mature professional woman who is undergoing the painful dislocation of divorce after having been a wife for thirty years, and a mother—she returns to this family of origin to find that florid mental illness has dominated the family homelife for decades.

In this vivid portrait of tragedy, adaptation, and survival, surprising moments of amusement and sometimes hilarity surface. Questions arise about how sibling relationships, family constitution, and personal experience plays a role in making us who we are. Ultimately, however, it’s one question in particular—Where did it all start?—that grabs hold of Ahlenberg and leads her to explore the what, the where, and the persistence of love.

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