I don't know if you follow me on Goodreads (let's be friends!) but my reading goal for 2016 is 100 books. For 2015 I had a goal of 110, but I only made it to 97. Sad face. That was the first year I hadn't reached my goal. But so far for 2016, I am on a roll and it's on the first week!
The Past - Tessa Hadley
Now, I'm going to start by telling you that I read Tessa's book Accidents in the Home and wasn't totally in love. It was alright, it wasn't anything that I felt like I should or had to recommend, it was just OK. But then I saw this book come up and the synopsis for it is pretty solid and I've had pretty good luck with other books that had a similar story line, all of them went very different routes so I was curious to see where Tessa Hadley would go with this. And I'm left feeling the same as I did with the other book, it's OK. It doesn't blow me away, it's not one that would make a top book list, and if I was staring at my shelf trying to recommend a book, it isn't one that would necessarily jump out to give to a friend. But it wasn't bad. It just didn't have the extra oomph I really wanted.
What we have is the story of a bunch of siblings, brought together in a childhood home "one last time" but they all have problems/issues with each other. The trip is obviously meant to maybe re-live the glory days but also, under the surface, some hope to resolve the family issues where some are desperate to continue ignoring them. All of the siblings are vastly different, and I'd venture to say if you put this hodge podge of folks together you wouldn't even really consider them to be a family since they have zero in common with each other. But then you also have the children (and pseudo step child, kind of) of these siblings who are observing the adults and basically coming up with their own conclusions of what's going on. We learn about a few family "secrets" that have prevented them from being close as adults.
The problem for me, is that there isn't really a plot in this book. It's just us learning about the family, none of which I really liked or cared about. I kept waiting for some big thing that made everything make sense- some big family transgression that basically exploded them into their own corners of the world, but you'll be disappointed because there isn't one. Well, I suppose you could say the second part of the book is maybe that, but it's not really enough to explain all of the drama and hurt between everyone.
I have a friend who is also reading this and she said I am an absolute idiot and she is loving this book. But she is also a big fan of Tessa Hadley so maybe I'm missing the boat. The boat has clearly left me on the wrong damn island. It's not a fast read, and it doesn't have anything really exciting in it, but if you really like to read about family dynamics and perhaps compare to your own, I will suggest this book to you. If you really want something more fast paced and action packed, maybe move to the next book on your to-read list. I will say, the nerd in me loves this cover and it is light years above the cover for it's first release. This is so much prettier!
You can find The Past on Amazon as well as Barnes & Noble.