Books - Briefly Noted: "Saving Charlotte" by Pia de Jong

The New Yorker, October 9, 2017 issue

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Saving Charlotte, by Pia de Jong, translated from the Dutch by Pia de Jong and Landon Y. Jones (Norton). This compelling memoir by a Dutch novelist begins in 2000, when her daughter is born with congenital myeloid leukemia, a rare disease with a low rate of survival. De Jong and her husband decide against chemotherapy, which is likely to be both devastating and ineffective. “Parents always want to do everything for their children,” an incredulous oncologist protests. “We do nothing,” de Jong responds. “That can be a lot.” De Jong movingly describes the work of nursing her daughter to health, and sketches the Amsterdam neighborhood—the brothel next door, the local crank, the kind old man who lives across the canal—that seems to cocoon the struggling family.

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