There seem to be definite trends in fiction. World War II novels continue to be popular, and historical novels imagined from the point of view of famous people are among the best sellers.
Lately, I’ve noticed more and more novels about adult siblings who gather at a death of a parent, the sale of a family home, or for a final holiday celebration. One drawing a lot of attention is The Nest by Cynthia d’Aprix Sweeney where four siblings gather over an inheritance. I’ve put it on my list to read.
I never tire of stories of family. When adult children come “home,” tension and conflict are inevitable. When a parent dies or a house must be sold it is a time of reckoning for a family. When grown children confront each other, they can’t help but assess their own lives. Old rivalries and grudges rise to the surface. What baggage from the past has weighed them down? What do they discover about their adult selves?
Two brilliant novels that tackle this subject are The Past by Tessa Hadley and The Green Road by Anne Enright.
Hadley gives us an English version with a faded country house and an odd assemblage of characters during the course of a languid summer holiday. Just as you begin to settle in and enjoy the charms of Hadley’s beautifully depicted scenes there are the odd moments, the subtle hints that trouble is lurking just beneath the surface.
Anne Enright gives us another look at a family with an aging mother who has decided to sell the family home. This novel moves back and forth in time creating a poignant picture of the joys and sorrows that punctuate the journey of family life. Enright’s depiction of rural Ireland is breathtaking.
I highly recommend both novels. Please let me know of other books like these so I can add them to my list!