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Wednesday, May 11, 2016

The Past by Tessa Hadley

This is a book that chronicles the relationship of siblings to each other and to place.  It is about the capacity for families to splinter into dozens of pieces, and just how easily that can be accomplished with a few well placed opportunities and a little dash of psychopathology (which we all have to a greater or lesser degree).  It is a well written book that revolves around four siblings who are staying at their grandmother's house in the country.  She is long since gone and the siblings are not terribly close, but somehow agree to spend three weeks together there.  I really like my extended family, but this would be a long time to get along in environs that are not quite home and yet not a vacation.  Nothing novel to coalesce around and not familiar enough to relax in.   So what you would expect to happen does indeed happen.  There is the occasional curve ball thrown in, but the thing that makes this book really good is the way it is written.  I have not read this author before, but she is excellent, and just the sort of thing that I associate with the Booker Prize--a well written book with little in the way of action, so it's beauty and allure is all in the telling of a reasonably familiar tale.

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