"Malae is like a young Nelson Algren or Richard Wright, one of those writers who can hit with both hands." —Russell Banks
By way of Italy, the Felice family puts down new roots in Southern California, settling into a grand Victorian home and buying a share of the great American Dream. But for their five, first-generation children, an idyllic childhood didn't quite translate into success and happiness. Rather, the pressures of living up to expectations drove a wide rift through the family.
After decades apart, the five siblings find themselves together again at their ailing mother’s bedside, caught in a deadlocked feud over her hospice care. Into the morass steps Murron Teinetoa, one of their bastard children, who carries an idealistic hope of finally fitting in among her estranged relatives.
In an interweaving narrative, Malae portrays the Felices in their formative years of the fifties; he excavates the personal lives of the siblings in the eighties and nineties; and he follows Murron in the present as she raises her son as a single mother. A powerful and fiery multi-generational story, Our Frail Blood captures the beauty and horror, the strength and fragility, the selfishness and love comprising the threads of familial bonds.