I received a free copy from TLC Book Tours for my honest review.
About the Book:
• Hardcover: 320 pages
• Publisher: Harper (January 5, 2016)
“An exquisite writer, a writer’s writer, with a fine eye for detail and a way of crafting sentences that make you stop and inhale . . . Hadley should be a bestseller rather than literary fiction’s best kept secret.”—The Times (London)
Three sisters and a brother, complete with children, a new wife, and an ex-boyfriend’s son, descend on their grandparents’ dilapidated old home in the Somerset countryside for a final summer holiday, where simmering tensions and secrets rise to the surface over three long, hot weeks.The house is full of memories of their childhood and their past—their mother took them there to live when she left their father—but now, they may have to sell it. And beneath the idyllic pastoral surface lie tensions.
Sophisticated and sleek, Roland’s new wife (his third) arouses his sisters’ jealousies and insecurities. Kasim, the twenty-year-old son of Alice’s ex-boyfriend, becomes enchanted with Molly, Roland’s sixteen-year-old daughter. Fran’s young children make an unsettling discovery in an abandoned cottage in the woods that shatters their innocence. Passion erupts where it’s least expected, leveling the quiet self-possession of Harriet, the eldest sister. As the family’s stories and silences intertwine, small disturbances build into familial crises, and a way of life—bourgeois, literate, ritualized, Anglican—winds down to its inevitable end.
Over five novels and two collections of stories, Tessa Hadley has earned a reputation as a fiction writer of remarkable gifts. She brings all of her considerable skill to The Past, a work of breathtaking scope and beauty—her most ambitious and accomplished novel yet.
About the Author:
Tessa Hadley is the author of five highly praised novels: Accidents in the Home, which was longlisted for The Guardian First Book Award; Everything Will Be All Right; The Master Bedroom; The London Train, which was a New York TimesNotable Book; and Clever Girl. She is also the author of two short story collections,Sunstroke and Marr
I’m trying to branch out a little this year in my reading choices – not that I won’t still read my beloved historical fiction, but I want to try and stretch a little. This family drama is out of my usual reading box yet I was intrigued by its premise. It does have a touch of the historical to it so perhaps that is why it appealed…
A family gathers in the ancestral home for what could possibly be the last time as it’s basically falling down and none with the money have the desire to fix it and none with the desire have the money. The siblings involved all bring various spouses/boyfriends and children so it’s a real gang showing up for the three weeks. At times tempers run as hot as the weather. As the children romp and play on the grounds they find something no children should ever have to see and it shatters the peace of their vacation.
The Past is beautifully written and travels from current times into the past and back again with ease. Some of the plot points are familiar and I’ve seen them in other books but somehow due to the writing they seem new here. It’s not the kind of book where you find yourself turning the pages as fast as you can to find out how it is going to end. It’s more the kind of book you read more slowly and enjoy the world you are inhabiting even when it’s not a comfortable world. I suspect it would improve on a second reading.
You can find further reviews of The Past from the TLC Book Tour