Deborah Cohen

The Lives of Others

Far from the Tree: A Dozen Kinds of Love

By

Chatto & Windus 962pp £30 order from our bookshop

Far from the Tree is a big book and an important one. In ten chapters, dealing with the subjects of deafness, dwarfism, Down’s syndrome, autism, schizophrenia, disability, prodigies, children conceived through rape, children who commit crimes, and transgender children – framed by an autobiographical beginning and ending – Solomon investigates what it means for parents to love children who are different from themselves, and more broadly, the status of both disability and identity in contemporary society. At the heart of the book are interviews, some extending over a number of years, which Solomon conducted with more than three hundred families. The book is in addition a tour d’horizon of the literature (medical, psychological, sociological, anthropological, philosophical, activist) on each subject. It clocks in at over nine hundred pages for good reason.

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