Book Reviews

‘The best moments in reading are when you come across something - a thought, a feeling, a way of looking at things - which you had thought special and particular to you. And now, here it is, set down by someone else, a person you have never met, someone even who is long dead. And it is as if a hand has come out, and taken yours.’ Alan Bennett

“Many a book is like a key to unknown chambers within the castle of one’s own self.” ― Franz Kafka

Thursday, 26 July 2012

Tigers in Red Weather - Liza Klaussmann



'They were supposed to be different, different from all the people who didn't want things and didn't do things and who weren't special.'


This debut novel put me in mind of the fabulous Revolutionary Road, and also, of course, The Great Gatsby. The setting is the East Coast of America, Martha's Vineyard, and predominantly Tiger House, the family estate there where Nick and her cousin Helena have grown up. As the novel opens, it is the end of World War II, and their lives are on the cusp of change. Nick's husband Hughes is returning home from the war, whilst Helena is moving to Hollywood to marry Avery Lewis. 

Five main characters narrate this story in turn, and within each of the five narratives, the writer shifts about in time, forwards and back too. Nick, her husband Hughes, and her cousin Helena, and then their children Daisy and Ed. Nick is enigmatic, she loves Hughes yet wants more. At one point Nick imagines escaping her life and running off to Paris, I found each of the different viewpoints interesting in their own ways. Their longings, their disappointments, the complicated relationships, secrets, betrayals, and the dissatisfaction at the paths their lives have taken; this is all shared with us as we glimpse key moments in their lives. A murder occurs, and a body is discovered in their neighbourhood by Ed and Daisy, which causes intrigue and adds to the unsettling feel. 



The reader gets the opportunity to view certain events through the eyes of more than one of the characters, and see the different interpretations, some very strained relationships. The shifts in time within the narratives mean the reader needs to keep on top of events in the story. 

It is extremely atmospheric; it seems to absolutely capture the time and place; I could almost taste the martinis, see the bathing suits, feel the summer heat. This is primarily a novel about human relationships, the author makes astute observations through these flawed characters about how people's expectations change and hopes and dreams are derailed, relationships disappoint, and life doesn't lead where people had hoped it would. Whilst I was interested in where their lives would take them, I struggled to care very deeply for any of the characters, and something held me back from loving this book.

Overall I found this an enjoyable, impressive debut novel which swept me away to another country, another time and setting, to meet these intriguing, unsettled, often unhappy people and share a glimpse into their lives and their different world. I really love the beautiful cover design on this book, the colours, the font and the image suits the book so well. 


Published by Picador on 2nd August 2012


Reviewed for Amazon Vine


8 comments:

  1. This doesn't necessarily sound like something I'd usually go for, but the cover is gorgeous - I'd put it on my wall!

    Marie

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    1. I think it's a super cover and suits the story so well.

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  2. The cover is very different from the US version, but I'd like to see the woman in a red swimsuit! :P
    I'm keeping an eye out for this book, I put a request in to read it at Netgalley but unfortunately my request was denied so I'm hoping my library will stock it.

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    1. Sorry to hear you didn't get the book via Netgalley, hope it comes into your library quickly.

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  3. I love atmospheric books! I may have to look into this one!

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    1. Look forward to your thoughts on it.

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  4. I was tempted by this one on Vine - mostly by the gorgeous cover *superficial me! ;-)

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    1. The cover drew me to this one too Treez, so eye-catching.

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