Someone Else’s Wedding – Tamar Cohen – 2/10 (DNF)
Description from the blurb, because it’s very clever:Mr & Mrs Max Irving request the company of: Mrs Fran Friedman, mourning her empty nest, her lost baby, the galloping years, and a disastrous haircut. Mr Saul Friedman, runner of marathons, avoider of conflicts and increasingly distant husband. The two Misses Friedman, Pip and Katy, one pining over the man she can’t have, the other trying to shake off the man she no longer wants. At the marriage of their son James Irving, forbidden object of inappropriate and troubling desire.
I never got off the ground with this one. I found Fran self-indulgent, self-pitying and the mystery of her relationship with the groom was very strange. Surely they should be totally different generations? Saul and the daughters were interesting characters and Cohen comes out with a spectacular turn of phrase every now and again, but I got really tired of Fran’s voice. DNF, and sharpish.
I don’t know whether this is just a piece of anti-romance snobbery I have – I just can’t be dealing with people’s nonsense.
(review copy from Doubleday, affiliate link to Amazon in case it looks interesting)
The Burgess Boys – Elizabeth Strout – 2/10 (DNF)
Jim and Bob Burgess have escaped their Maine upbringing to Manhattan; of the three siblings, only sad single mother Susan is left, struggling with her teenage son Zach. When Zach is caught goading local Muslim Somali refugees, high-powered lawyer Jim won’t give up his exotic holiday and sends tender but ineffectual Bob home instead. Old tensions rise unbidden…
This is written in that ethereal style of much successful contemporary literature – vignettes and snapshots of sad lives, tangled by some bizarre event (it takes quite an imagination to leave a frozen pig’s head outside a mosque…). I didn’t like it in A Visit to the Goon Squad, and I didn’t like it here. If you like this style of writing, this book may hold a lot more promise for you because I didn’t think it was badly written, I just don’t like that style of writing!
(review copy from Simon & Schuster; affiliate link to Amazon)
Fear not, this isn’t all I’ve been reading recently – more positive reviews soon!