As Jacob lies dying, he begins to write a letter to his only son, Isaac. They have not met or spoken in many years, and there are things that Isaac must know. Stories about his ancestral legacy in rural Arkansas that extend back to slavery. Secrets from Jacob's tumultuous relationship with Isaac's mother and the shame he carries from the dissolution of their family. Tragedies that informed Jacob's role as a father and his reaction to Isaac's being gay. But most of all, Jacob must share with Isaac the unspoken truths that reside in his heart. He must give voice to the trauma that Isaac has inherited. And he must create a space for the two to find peace.
Black’s sad and gripping new novel is an example of how fiction is not just a form of literature but a place. We go there for lessons on how to live, how to change and, most important, how to forgive and seek forgiveness ... Don’t Cry for Me rides the rickety line between tragedy and melodrama. But despite its sentimental risks — it features an obsessive, cloying focus on family meals...for example, and repeats the assertion that simply telling the story or getting it off one’s chest will make a difference — a theme emerges: Don’t Cry for Me is a novel about novels, a story about stories.
Considering that it’s about a dying man, Don’t Cry for Me by Daniel Black is incredibly alive. The novel’s simple format—letters that offer decades of retrospection—makes for incredible storytelling, and readers will be invested from page one ... An accomplished author of six previous novels, Black has crafted a memorable, poignant story that explores themes of regret, legacy and family—and yet remains perfectly balanced through it all.