Books with Secretive Families

Every family has a secret. Some are darker than others.


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Leo Tolstoy wrote that all happy families are alike, but that every unhappy family is unhappy in its own unique way. Whether or not that’s true—what is happiness? Let’s not get into philosophy, though—we have to agree that unhappiness and hardship come in all shapes and sizes. Similarly, and this we think is universal to pretty much all families, secrets can cause discord and discontent within their ranks. Maybe that’s why we love hanging out with secretive families in our books, so as to avoid dealing with our own—but now we’re getting into psychology, and let’s not go there either. Let’s go right to what we know best: books. Books we love to disappear in, books we love to escape with, and books we love to be a little voyeuristic about.

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About Ilana Masad

Ilana Masad

ILANA MASAD is an Israeli-American writer living in New York. Her work has appeared in The New Yorker, Tin House, Printer’s Row, The Toast, The Butter, The Rumpus, Hypertext Magazine, and more. She is the founder of, a podcast for new, emerging, and struggling writers. She is (way too) active on Twitter @ilanaslightly.