In “Synapses,” a woman struggling with her own advancing age tries to piece together her missing mother through tiny flakes of information that don't add up to enough — not to “heart, blood pressure, plaques, tangles” — those things that constitute a real life; a history.
In “Custodian,” a granddaughter visits her dying grandmother, trying to link her grandmother's perception to the person she is.
A mother loses her son and gathers his memories around her in “Gratitute.” She is just another “sadling,” and, like the photographer who narrates the story, we are mere voyeurs to her grief, but the act of remembering brings her boy back into the present.
Not all stories provide answers. Though they aren't unsatisfying, each story holds back a little, leaving the reader to imagine the rest. The stories stand alone and can be read in isolation, but taken together they form a coherent and powerful whole, connected by the strong themes, and the imagery, of birds, of colour, of art in its many forms, of family, and of course inheritance: not just the things we inherit but the memories, the genes, the vision. Inherited is an exceptional collection of beautiful stories, written with the intense spareness of poetry. Each reading reveals new truths, new twists, and another way of perceiving both the ordinary, and the extraordinary that is everywhere in our not so very short lives.