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The Vacationers (2014)
by Emma Straub
Summer Reads 2014 (25)
Best Family Stories (197)
Sunny Summer Reads! (12)
» 3 more
To Read (243)
Summer Books (55)
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I couldn't remember this book but here is a summary from someone else: his is the second Emma Straub novel I've read after finding All Adults Here a pleasant read. That one reminded me of Anne Tyler, her ability to catch the idiosyncratic family dynamics. This one ,written in 2014, tells the story of the vacation taken by Post family, Jim and Franny celebrating 35 years of marriage and their youngest daughter Sylvia about to go to Brown. Their older son,Bobby, is joining them with his girlfriend Carmen to spend two weeks in a beautiful air bnb on the Greek island of Mallorca. They will also be joined by Franny's oldest friend, Charles and his husband Lawrence. The twist to this seemingly perfect getaway is that Jim has just been fired from his job at the magazine for having an affair with a 23 year old. The trip was already booked, only Sylvia has overheard some of the yelling at home, so the unfolding of the novel will also be the determination of a marriage. There are other subplots : Bobby's older girlfriend/personal trainer has trouble fitting in, Sylvia about to enter college a virgin wants to remedy that, and the gay couple may be getting selected for the adoption of a baby. As I summarize this I am reminded how quick the read was because you do get interested in the characters and admire the observational details of the author. The writing is cleverly broken down into each day, one through 14, so it feels like you are on the vacation with them as the point of view spirals trough all of the 7 characters. I liked All Adults Here better but this too was a pleasant read by an author I will continue to explore.
This was a great book.
I really enjoyed The Vacationers, and am frankly surprised by all the dislike on Goodreads for the book. Yes, the characters are not all likeable, at first the Posts seem somewhat cold, but Straub expertly and deliberately reveals the reasons for the underlying tension in a way that explains their initial chill, and they are all humanized and somewhat redeemed as the book progresses. I enjoyed the juxtaposition of the tension and the gauzy, sunny Mallorican environment, and I didn't want the book to end. I preferred The Vacationers to Straub's earlier book, "Laura Lamont's Life..." because the pacing was more even, the book more concise.
Do books get written to be read on vacations? Possibly. If they are well written, they may even help reduce stress and such and provide hours in a parallel universe, just that much different to make it look more interesting or less challenging.
fiction (human comedy of errors). Members of a family friends group vacation in Mallorca. I stopped around page 88--the writing was ok but I couldn't bring myself to care about the characters. Somewhat droll but also somewhat dull.
Celebrating their thirty-fifth anniversary and their daughter's high-school graduation during a two-week vacation in Mallorca, Franny and Jim Post confront old secrets, hurts, and rivalries that reveal sides of themselves they try to conceal.
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Emma Straub's book The Vacationers was available from LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
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Melvil Decimal System (DDC)813.6 — Literature English (North America) American fiction 21st Century
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