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The Past by Tessa Hadley
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The Past (2015)

by Tessa Hadley

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3032036,938 (3.47)18
  1. 10
    The Red House by Mark Haddon (jayne_charles)
  2. 00
    The Accidental by Ali Smith (shaunie)
    shaunie: Both feature families retreating to an idyllic summer house, but Hadley's book thankfully doesn't have the clever-clever touches which sometimes mar Smith's work.
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» See also 18 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 19 (next | show all)
This took me a minute to get into, because it's deceptively simple and slow-moving. A family of adult siblings meets up for a holiday in their old vacation home, which has fallen into disrepair. They're taking this holiday to decide whether to keep the home or sell it.

What unfolds is a quietly beautiful portrayal of sibling relationships, intertwined with glimpses into intergenerational effects. The middle section of the book is a flashback to the previous generation, when the siblings are children and their mother is struggling to end her marriage and redefine her relationship with herparents. Parallels to the adult siblings' relationship with their own children are never expressly made, but they're there for the careful reader to uncover. Almost like an alternative to a session with your psychotherapist, The Past gently suggests that maybe there is more to most of us than meets the familial eye. ( )
  BraveNewBks | Aug 8, 2017 |
4 siblings meet at grandparents house
  FranMcKenzie | Aug 1, 2017 |
I had high hopes for this book but somehow it seemed to lack a follow through at the end. it just seemed to sort of stop, leaving several characters hanging---yes, sort of room for a sequel but it was a little of a struggle to get this far. I did enjoy the audio version read by Caroline Lennon. ( )
  nyiper | Feb 14, 2017 |
The writing was really lovely and wonderful to read...however, the story line would get bogged down now and then. Three sisters and their brother, along with extended family go to their family cottage for three weeks to decide if they will keep it in the family or sell it. ( )
  Dianekeenoy | Jan 18, 2017 |
I liked this very much—the family dynamics, the lovely descriptions of the natural world, the tiny details, all speak to such a carefully observant and non-judgmental eye. I'll have to find more of Hadley's, since this was my first of hers other than a New Yorker story or two. ( )
  lisapeet | Jan 11, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 19 (next | show all)
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Alice was the first to arrive, but she discovered as she stood at the front door that she had forgotten her key.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0224101692, Hardcover)

"There is something reassuring yet deliciously unexpected about a Tessa Hadley novel." (Helen Brown, Daily Telegraph). Over five novels and two collections of stories Tessa Hadley has earned a reputation as a fiction writer of remarkable gifts, and been compared with Elizabeth Bowen and Alice Munro. In her new novel three sisters and a brother meet up in their grandparents' old house for three long, hot summer weeks. The house is full of memories of their childhood and their past - their mother took them there when she left their father - but now they may have to sell it. And under the idyllic surface, there are tensions. Roland has come with his new wife and his sisters don't like her. Kasim, the twenty-year-old son of Alice's ex-boyfriend, makes plans to seduce Molly, Roland's teenage daughter. Fran's children uncover an ugly secret in a ruined cottage in the woods. Passion erupts where it's least expected, blasting the quiet self-possession of Harriet, the oldest sister. A way of life - bourgeois, literate, ritualised - winds down to its inevitable end. With uncanny precision and extraordinary sympathy, Tessa Hadley charts the squalls of lust and envy disrupting this ill-assorted house party, as well as the consolations of memory and affection, the beauty of the natural world, the shifting of history under the social surface. From the first page the reader is absorbed and enthralled, watching a superb craftsman at work.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 23 Jul 2015 22:26:39 -0400)

Assembling at their country house one final time before it is sold, four siblings and their children share past memories, hidden passions, and devastating secrets that threaten to overwhelm them.

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