Thursday, August 7, 2008

no investment

The Condition by Jennifer Haigh
Rating: 3.5 stars (out of 5)
Genre: fiction
Review: At the beginning of this book, we meet a fairly normal-looking family starting their summer vacation at the family house on Cape Cod. At the end of the prologue, we get the inkling that something bad is going to happen to this family, and that very soon the summer house will be sold and the parents divorce.

The story then jumps about 20 years, to a time when the children are adults, and whatever happened after that summer is old news. This is a perfectly good technique if the writer is more interested in showing the long term effects of something than the immediate impact.

And it would have worked just fine in this case, except that the prologue was so short I wasn't able to develop any sympathy with the characters. Instead of getting the continuation of a story I was already invested in, I got a stub that wasn't enough to carry me though the rest of the book. But I persevered, and throughout the rest of the book, Haigh gives enough of the backstory for me to start to feel a little bit of sympathy, or at least to be a little bit interested in what happens to them.

Overall, the writing is quite fine, but the story itself winds up being a bit disappointing.

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