The Condition

The Condition

A Novel

Book - 2008
Average Rating:
Rate this:

In the summer of 1976, during their annual retreat on Cape Cod, the McKotch family came apart. Now, twenty years after daughter Gwen was diagnosed with Turner's syndrome--a rare genetic condition that keeps her trapped forever in the body of a child--eminent scientist Frank McKotch is divorced from his pedigreed wife, Paulette. Eldest son Billy, a successful cardiologist, lives a life built on secrets and compromise. His brother Scott awakened from a pot-addled adolescence to a soul-killing job and a regrettable marriage. And Gwen--bright and accomplished but hermetic and emotionally aloof--spurns all social interaction until, well into her thirties, she falls in love for the first time. With compassion and almost painful astuteness, The Condition explores the power of family mythologies--the self-delusions, denials, and inescapable truths that forever bind fathers and mothers and siblings.

Publisher: New York : Harper, c2008.
ISBN: 9780060755799
Branch Call Number: FICTION HAI


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment
Jan 08, 2013

I enjoyed this novel, although not as much as Jennifer Haigh's other books. You take journeys through all the family member's lives, weaving in and out of each character's life chapter by chapter. At the end there is some sense of completeness, as the character's stories intertwine.

Oct 01, 2012

Wow, does the description of this book ever get it wrong: it covers way more than one summer, the eldest child does NOT investigate his sister's chromosomal disorder, and the mother is a control freak who above all else wants to manage her daughter's life (and everyone else's, as far as she can manage). This is a big work, covering a huge time period, and the author does a marvellous job of making it all seem immediate and real. As one reviewer on the back cover puts it, "The ailment at the centre of this remarkable novel is the human condition itself." The Condition is a great read from start to finish, thoroughly enjoyable. It is NOT about what the description here says! Instead, it first shows the McKotch family during the summer in which the father realizes there is something amiss with his daughter. The action then jumps ahead 20 years - but the reader is filled in, when and as it's appropriate, on those missing years, and how things have played out for the parents and the three children. This is a character-driven story, and Jennifer Haigh has created wonderfully complex characters for it. She is a master of nuance and detail and she has a rich story to tell. Definitely recommend.

Jun 23, 2012

Great read, not a literary masterpiece but great characters and storyline that engages you. Perfect for a summer read.

Jun 05, 2012

It starts slowly but by the end one is caught up in each of the characters and is worth the read.

Nov 19, 2008

A very enjoyable book with characters that we can all relate to within our family. It is an examination of how we are perceived by our families, our attempts to fulfill those perceptions and the often tragic outcomes for not being who you are.

Age Suitability

Add Age Suitability

There are no age suitabilities for this title yet.


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number


Subject Headings


Find it at CPL

To Top