Robert Kolker’s new book, “Hidden Valley Road,” tells the terrifying story of the Galvins, a large family beset by schizophrenia — six of its 12 children were afflicted with the disease. Among the many fascinating elements of the story, Kolker says on this week’s podcast, is the fate of the family’s two daughers, neither of whom had the disease, and their desire for Kolker to tell the Galvins’ story.

“Beyond the question of how could all this happen to just one family, the real driving question for me in writing the book was: You could’ve walked away from this family at the age of 18, moved to L.A., gone to law school, become a lawyer, sent them Christmas cards once a year and be done with it,” Kolker says of the daughters. “And yet here you are, still part of the mix, still part of this family, still devoted to them in many ways. How does that work? How does that help us understand what it means to go through such trauma? What does it mean to come out the other side of an experience like this? And how did you come out the other side?”

Robert Kolker Discusses Hidden Valley Road,” April 10, 2010