The Past

The Past

A Novel

eBook - 2015
Average Rating:
7
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A mesmerizing novel about family and the modern world encroaching upon the old, from one of Britain's finest contemporary novelists. Three adult sisters and their brother meet up at their grandparents' country home for their annual family holiday--three long, hot summer weeks. The beloved but crumbling house is full of memories of their childhood--of when their mother took them to stay with her parents when she left their father--but this could be their last summer in the house, now they may have to sell it. And under the idyllic pastoral surface, there are tensions. Alice has brought with her Kasim, the 20-year-old son of her ex-boyfriend, and he makes plans to seduce the quiet Molly, Roland's 16-year-old daughter. Fran's young children uncover an ugly secret in a ruined cottage in the woods, and observe the growing flirtation. Passion erupts where it's least expected, blasting the quiet self-possession of Harriet, the eldest sister. Roland has come with...
Publisher: 2015.
ISBN: 9780345816139
Branch Call Number: E-BOOK
Characteristics: 1 online resource ( pages)
1 online resource
Additional Contributors: OverDrive, Inc

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EmilyEm
Jul 15, 2017

Four siblings spend their summer holiday at their grandparents’ isolated English country estate—an old vicarage—with assorted children, a new wife and a young man, son of an old boyfriend in tow.

Seen from varying points of view, old and new rivalries and passions, bubble into view. Sometimes messy, sometimes endearing. Prose like a reverie, but a little low on plot. Secrets were a little predictable to me

a
Aldeery
Nov 26, 2016

Loved this book. Can't believe I've never read anything by her. So like family life - messy, awkward, rich, and so evocative of a disappearing kind of life. The encroachment of foreigners into private, bourgeois British life does a contrapuntal dance with the activism of both the 60's of Tom and Jill and the, what, 80's? of Harriet. And history seems to be variations on a theme where the relationships of Hettie and Roly, and Ivy and Arthur are concerned. And is Mikey Fran's father?
I loved the descriptions of the English countryside and weather, particularly those from Harriet's point of view.

c
cmb8
Jun 14, 2016

enjoyed the book

j
jenoteacher
Jun 02, 2016

Masterful narrative arc. I loved the unexpected plot twists... Harriet's sudden, illogical, crushing crush on Pilar, The childrens' superstitious ritual play, and most of all, the puff of dust that hangs in the air around the derelict cabin at the end. I believed in these characters.

l
lostintheshelves
May 05, 2016

This utterly English novel probes family dynamics with beautiful prose, but the author's chilly remove from her characters (even more than the lack of momentum) kept me from being truly swept up. Attentive readers will see parallels the characters miss, especially once the 2nd section shows us the previous generation, and we realize how fully the Cranes of the present are re-living their parents' mistakes.

Tessa Hadley's book is an elegy for the English gentry--rural, middle-class, Anglican liberals who are disappearing along with the farmers they once lorded over--but as a USian I found it hard to relate. Eldest sister Harriet's story follows too closely the clichés straight literary writers usually use for lesbian characters, and minor characters like Fran and Molly are underdeveloped to the point of blankness. That said, the plot picks up toward the end before concluding with a moment powerfully quiet and sad, and many people, unlike me, will probably love the book.

u
uncommonreader
Apr 10, 2016

Although I sometimes find Hadley's work on the edge between insightful and banal, I liked this story of a bourgeois and literate family and what lies below the surface of their lifes. I also liked the structure of the novel - the present, the past, the present and found it added depth and understanding to each of the characters. Recommended.

karcoldelharvic5 Mar 14, 2016

One word---boring. Too much time spent on descriptions and persons thoughts. The - before there was a conversation instead of quotation marks was annoying. The middle of the book goes back into the past with no rhyme or reason why. Truly disappointing if you read all the comments and the book description.

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