|(Thank you to the publisher and TLC Book Tours for providing me with a copy of this book!)|
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.
British to the core, The Past by Tessa Hadley reads, speaks, tastes, and feels like England. I found myself lulled into the story with its rich, descriptive language. I enjoyed the slow-going pace and the way it made me feel as if I were back in the English countryside writing my dissertation. I could picture the little white house, the crumbling decay of its facade, the smell of must and old within the walls and furniture. I could smell the grass, leaves, and sunshine beating down. And I could see this family gathered together, trying to relive the glory days of their youth spent at their grandparents' country home. The misunderstandings, the tensions simmering beneath a thin layer of pretend happiness, the slights and minor hurts that turn into cutting remarks and hateful thoughts. Hadley lays everything out - from the present dilemma of whether or not they should keep their grandparents' home, to the past secrets that have long kept them divided. The Past is a glorious exploration of a family's history, love, secrets, jealousies, memories, passions, etc. I found myself spellbound by these unlikeable siblings and their children. I liked how Hadley introduced us to them as adults and then as children in the second part of the story. Being privy to their childhood, we are able to gain a better understanding of why they have become the adults we are left with in the end. Talk about a mesmerizing read - I was hooked!
I absolutely loved this quiet, riveting novel of a dysfunctional family visiting an old childhood home - it made for quite an unforgettable read. I would happily recommend The Past to fans of Tessa Hadley and fans of Brit Lit.
Here's the link to the TLC Book Tour schedule for: The Past
I love the cover and I love the sound of it, in general. Sounds like a juicy read.
Ti, I thought you would like this one. Especially as you enjoy character driven stories. Definitely a worthwhile read :)
I've loved all the Tessa Hadley that I've read, which I think is one novel and several short stories. I have gotten behind and never read her last one, so I need to get to both that one and this one ASAP!
baystatera, yes! You must read this both! Her books are just so good. I loved this one so much! So glad you enjoy her work as well :)
Ooh, I've been looking for some books that are set in England for my Reading England Challenge; this would fit the bill perfectly. Thanks! :)
Lark, it would fit the bill perfectly for your Reading England Challenge :) Enjoy!
I love that we get a glimpse of their childhoods - what we experience at that time of life has such a major influence on what we are as adults.
Thanks for being a part of the tour!
I stumbled across a book of her short stories years ago. Great review!
Heather, I know! I think that reading about them as kids really helps pull the story together. Such a good book! Thanks for having me on the tour :)
The Bibliophile Belle, she's such an amazing writer! Thanks so much!!
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