Clara winter’s mother, Tamar (more about that lower-case "w" in a minute), is no slouch either, since otherwise she’d
never be able to keep up with her 11-year-old quick-as-a-wink daughter, something she in fact does very well indeed, though
invariably playing her cards extremely close to her chest. Deep secrets are what’s at issue in this mutually suspicious household
of two. The first has to do with why Clara’s father isn’t around (answer: he was a one-night stand, gone in the morning, not
even her mother having known his name). The second question is about another missing person, this one, certainly to Clara,
even more important. The facts are these: Clara was born in a blizzard, in a car stuck in the ditch that her grandfather, driving
Tamar to the hospital, had slid it into; worse, an unexpected twin sister had followed Clara’s birth and, waiting for rescue in
the wintery cold (the word "winter" never again to be capitalized by Clara), had died. These are the mysteries (with the
additional one of where her never-again-seen grandfather went) that sixth-grader Clara tries to pry the answers to from her
taciturn mother—growing frustrated enough by her failure that she turns elsewhere, partly to her own imagination, where all
the "answers" fall gradually and wonderfully into non-place, and partly to the house trailer of 77-year-old immigrant Georg
Kominsky, her ostensible purpose being to write an oral history project on him, her more true and gradually emerging purpose
being to recreate the grandfather, father, and sister she’s lost—with results at once witty, tender, funny, touching, and, by end,
tragic in a way that perfectly brings all to a close, if never to an end.
Bound for success, or else the world has gone mad.