Telling the story of a family of Jewish Hungarian immigrants settled in Chicago in the first half of the 20th century, this novel follows their rise from poverty to prosperity as Cecil Slaughter’s children—out of equal measures glorified memory and sibling rivalry—name their daughters after him, with subtle variations: Ceci, Cecilia, Cecily, Celine, Celie, and Celeste. Despite—or perhaps because of—this and other familial forces pushing on them, each has a personality and direction of life distinct from her cousins. Celie is the top saleswoman in an upscale dress shop; Cecily is a playwright; Cecilia is a poet; Celine finds her expression in the seduction of men; and Celeste died as an infant. Ceci, the eldest of the Slaughter grandchildren and daughter of the admired and envied family beauty, Rose, died as a young adult and she serves as narrator of the novel from the afterlife. Through reflection, and with the counsel of Lao Tzu, she gradually attains a greater understanding and acceptance of Earthly human weakness, even as the lives of her living cousins lead inexorably to a violent and tragic conclusion. Set in the Rogers Park neighborhood of Chicago, this unusual page turner utilizes poetry and a sense of theatrical staging to original and haunting effect, rending a family saga with both distance and intimacy.
The Six Granddaughters of Cecil Slaughter
Fifth Star Press