Whenever I read a novel about families, I’m reminded of the famous line by Leo Tolstoy from Anna Karenina. “All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.”
Tessa Hadley’s novel, THE PAST (Harper) is a good reminder of how little we really know the people we consider closest to us, our family.
THE PAST is about the four siblings and their families who take a holiday for three weeks together at their family vacation cottage. Three generations of the Cranes have traveled to the English countryside, to a property that has been in the family for years and is in need of repair. Ironically, the plot revolves around the Cranes, a fragile family, who are in need of nurturing, as well. Although family members have lived during different generational times, all are fated to face the same problems. When they try to create some kind of connection, isolation and a solitary existences are what they encounter.
The house is full of upsetting childhood memories of when their mother took them to live after she left father. And now, the house may be sold, something no one wants. Each one has stories and secrets that intertwine and build into crises, leading to an inevitable end.
Set aside some time to spend with Tessa Hadley and THE PAST. Don’t be in a hurry to read her novel, plan on savoring her sentences and the unique structure of her narrative. Ms. Hadley’s novels are best read while sitting in a lovely room filled with other rich, bounded books, on a comfy sofa, with a cuppa hot tea and a few biscuits – perhaps a fire burning to keep the air toasty. Don’t have anything on your calendar. Just relax, read and enjoy.
About Tessa Hadley
Tessa Hadley is the author of five highly praised novels: Accidents in the Home, Everything Will Be All Right; The Master Bedroom; The London Train, which was a New York Times Notable Book; and Clever Girl. She is also the author of two short story collections, Sunstroke and Married Love, which were New York Times Notable Books. Her stories appear regularly in The New Yorker. She lives in London.
Thanks to TLC Book Tours http://www.tlcbooktours.com and Harper Publishing, we have one copy of THE PAST to giveaway. SECRETS? Have you ever learned a secret about a family member that has surprised you? Care to share? We’ll pick a winner Wednesday. Have a great weekend.
Feel free to check out http://www.cindyroesel.com for more of my reviews and news of my novel, “Viewer Discretion Advised.”