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Self Help by Edward Docx
Self Help begins with Maria Glover summoning her son to St. Petersburg, but she dies before he can arrive. Gabriel, a journalist for a self-help magazine, and his twin sister, Isabella, mourn their mother that had bound the family together. They blame their abusive and philandering father, now living in Paris with his male lover, for their mother's death. She had been a Russian defector who came to London, married, had a family, and then returned to St. Petersburg after the fall of the Soviet Union. She had an illegitimate Russian son named Arkady, a pianist who decides the family he's never known should provide for him. Maria's death forces them all to confront their own lives. Edward Docx's novel has received positive reviews and a Man Booker Prize nomination with The Guardian saying, "Readers in search of gleamingly polished novels should look elsewhere; but for those who want a gripping read that will sometimes make them feel quarrelsome but far more often engage, delight and engross them, Self Help will do nicely."