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3693152,053 (3.8)47
"Noah Selvaggio is a retired chemistry professor and widower living on the Upper West Side, but born in the South of France. He is days away from his first visit back to Nice since he was a child, bringing with him a handful of puzzling photos he's discovered from his mother's wartime years. But he receives a call from social services: Noah is the closest available relative of an eleven-year-old great-nephew he's never met, who urgently needs someone to look after him. Out of a feeling of obligation, Noah agrees to take Michael along on his trip. Much has changed in this famously charming seaside mecca, still haunted by memories of the Nazi occupation. The unlikely duo, suffering from jet lag and culture shock, bicker about everything from steak fries to screen time. But Noah gradually comes to appreciate the boy's truculent wit, and Michael's ease with tech and sharp eye help Noah unearth troubling details about their family's past. Both come to grasp the risks people in all eras have run for their loved ones, and find they are more akin than they knew. Written with all the tenderness and psychological intensity that made Room an international bestseller, Akin is a funny, heart-wrenching tale of an old man and a boy, born two generations apart, who unpick their painful story and start to write a new one together."--provided by publisher.… (more)
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» See also 47 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 31 (next | show all)
Donaghue creates a great relationship between an 80-year-old man and an eleven-year-old. I couldn't stop reading. ( )
  LindaLoretz | Mar 15, 2021 |
3.5 stars

Noah is 79-years old and planning a trip to his home country, France – a country he had to leave at 4-years old due to the war. He has a set of photographs his mother took that had been in possession of his sister, who has since passed away, and Noah is hoping to find out more about them. A few days before the trip, he is contacted by social services. He has a great-nephew with no other family they are able to find/contact who needs a temporary guardian, as his father (Noah’s nephew) died, and his mother is in jail. Michael is 11-years old; he and Noah have never met.

It was good. Kept my interest, though it wasn’t terribly fast-moving. I sure did dislike the kid, though. ( )
  LibraryCin | Jan 29, 2021 |
Nice, French Resistance, Family, Secrets, ebook ( )
  Rosareads | Oct 6, 2020 |
"Akin" was a good find. An eighty year old man had come to America without his mother, at four years of age, as a refugee from France during WWII. He had become a chemistry teacher with his wife, who had died childless a few years before the book opens. The man is just about to go back to France for the first time, and look up his heritage. However, due to several calamities, his 11 year old grand nephew comes to live with him when his father dies of a drug overdose and his mother is arrested for drugs. The social worker gets an emergency passport for the boy, and off they go to Nice. There isn't much of a story, just these two trying to get along with each other, having never met before taking off to France. The old man's grandfather had been a famous pre-war photographer, and his mother had helped her father. Among her possessions were a few photographs she treasured, but the old man didn't know why. So they tried to identify places in the photographs, and reconstruct their importance. The boy helps surprisingly with his cell phone and new eyes on old problems. But the story is basically the uneasy relationship between the man and the boy, when both are in new circumstances. The descriptions of Nice are wonderful, and makes the reader want to go visit. No violence, no explosions, but some explorations in family memories and history. Was the old man's mother a collaborator with the Nazis? Or a hero? There are some ups and downs, against the background of Carnival parades. If anything, this is a coming of age story about an eighty year old man. A good read, interesting characters, and highly recommended. ( )
  hadden | Aug 16, 2020 |
3.5/5 stars
  Lisa_Francine | Aug 5, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 31 (next | show all)
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Epigraph
Akin, adjective
1. related by blood
2. Similar in character
Dedication
To my beloved kinsmen
Denis and Finn
First words
An old man packing his bags.
Quotations
It hit him now that when a mother was sent to jail, her kids were receiving just as long a sentence.
"The whole point of travel is to learn there's no such thing as normal."
Maybe history really boiled down to how the hell did we happen to happen.
We spend most of our lives holding on to objects, he thought, and finally they fall from our cold dead hands  and those who tidy up after us have the worry  of what to do with all this stuff.
He supposed it was always that way with the dead; they slid away before we knew enough to ask them the right questions. All we could do was remember them, as much as we could remember of them, whether it was accurate or not. Walk the same streets that they'd walked; take our turn.
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"Noah Selvaggio is a retired chemistry professor and widower living on the Upper West Side, but born in the South of France. He is days away from his first visit back to Nice since he was a child, bringing with him a handful of puzzling photos he's discovered from his mother's wartime years. But he receives a call from social services: Noah is the closest available relative of an eleven-year-old great-nephew he's never met, who urgently needs someone to look after him. Out of a feeling of obligation, Noah agrees to take Michael along on his trip. Much has changed in this famously charming seaside mecca, still haunted by memories of the Nazi occupation. The unlikely duo, suffering from jet lag and culture shock, bicker about everything from steak fries to screen time. But Noah gradually comes to appreciate the boy's truculent wit, and Michael's ease with tech and sharp eye help Noah unearth troubling details about their family's past. Both come to grasp the risks people in all eras have run for their loved ones, and find they are more akin than they knew. Written with all the tenderness and psychological intensity that made Room an international bestseller, Akin is a funny, heart-wrenching tale of an old man and a boy, born two generations apart, who unpick their painful story and start to write a new one together."--provided by publisher.

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