adult familial circumstances

< Previous | Next >


Senior Member
Dear all,
this is from the 'Death of Others' by Richard Ford.

I am, after all, the only child of older parents who doted on me – the ne plus ultra of American adult familial circumstances. I was, thus, never in possession of that many friends, being always captivated by what the adults were doing.

Does the narrator hint that the situation was favourable for him, an adult child of an American family, as he was the only heir? This interpretation seems lame as in the next sentence the narrator (again?) speaks of his childhood. Actually my question boils down to the meaning of the word adult here.
  • Kwistax

    Senior Member
    français - Belgique
    I think one has to read 'circumstances' as 'conditions'.

    Then you'll see that the narrator is speaking of his own adult life. Having been loved too much by his two parents, this makes him, I guess it can be deduced from the phrase in question, quite a nevrotic person.

    The nec plus ultra of American adult familial circumstances is an ironic phrasing, obvioulsy.

    And we all know Americans' mental health is an endless source of inspiration for books and films...
    Last edited:
    < Previous | Next >