GOODBYE, VITAMIN by Rachel Khong, Simon & Schuster.
Ruth, 30, newly-single and heartbroken, heads home for the holidays. There her mother asks her to move in and help care for her father, who’s been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. It’s a bleak premise but at the hands of this debut novelist it’s anything but, her wry humour permeating the novel with poignant observations. To keep boredom at bay Ruth searches for remedies (dried jellyfish anyone?) and conspires to create fake classes for her dad, a professor, to “teach”. The class is made up of adoring students – one more so than the rest – which sends Ruth on a search for evidence of his past indiscretions. As his condition worsens, Ruth is forced to confront why she stayed away from the family she loves so long. A beautifully observed story about family, relationships and memories.