Friday, July 27, 2012

Jackie Thinks Melville Would Be Very Proud of His Great-Great-Great Granddaughter's Debut Novel

Nick and her cousin, Helena, have grown up sharing sultry summer heat, sunbleached boat docks, and midnight gin parties on Martha's Vineyard in a glorious old family estate known as Tiger House. In the days following the end of the Second World War, the world seems to offer itself up, and the two women are on the cusp of their 'real lives': Helena is off to Hollywood and a new marriage, while Nick is heading for a reunion with her own young husband, Hughes, about to return from the war.

Soon the gilt begins to crack. Helena's husband is not the man he seemed to be, and Hughes has returned from the war distant, his inner light curtained over. On the brink of the 1960s, back at Tiger House, Nick and Helena--with their children, Daisy and Ed--try to recapture that sense of possibility. But when Daisy and Ed discover the victim of a brutal murder, the intrusion of violence causes everything to unravel. The members of the family spin out of their prescribed orbits, secrets come to light, and nothing about their lives will ever be the same.

Brilliantly told from five points of view, with a magical elegance and suspenseful dark longing, Tigers in Red Weather is an unforgettable debut novel from a writer of extraordinary insight and accomplishment.

Read an interview with the author HERE.

Jackie says:
"This is a tale of a family, a Martha's Vineyard society kind of family, starting with the end of WWII and moving on through the late 60s.  The first third of the book is dominated by Nick, a controlling young woman who has married who she was supposed to marry, and hasn't had a happy day since.  She does what she must while yearning for other things (and other men), and produces the required child, Daisy.  Then a murder in the the community shakes things up, for everyone.

Next we hear from Helena, Nick's cousin, though really like a sister to her, gets her say.  Her first husband died in the war shortly after their marriage, and when we meet her, she is on her way to Hollywood to marry her second husband, a filmmaker.  It doesn't take her long to find that he is actually a grifter and is obsessed with a dead actress.  Helena drifts into alcohol and drugs, taking a short break to have a baby to see if that
would improve her marriage.  It didn't, and she finds her son to be rather strange and frightening, so once more she moves into the arms of booze and drugs.  She is visiting her cousin in Martha's Vineyard the summer of the murder, and it was in fact her son Ed and Nick's daughter Daisy who find the mutilated body.  Sunny Daisy comes through it well, but Ed seems to get even more strange and worrisome.  Helena's resentment of Nick begins to grow in to a complicated hate.

Hughes, Nick's husband, takes over the story for a bit, offering fresh perspective on things already known, as well as some secrets of his own. Then Ed get's his turn, finishing the book with the stark confirmation and clarification of so many of the doubts and mysteries the whole family has held for 25+ years.

This is not a cheerful book in any way.  However, the writing is mesmerizing, with crisp dialog that makes you feel as if you are right there with the characters, and drives you to turn page after page into the wee hours of the morning.  This is a debut novel, and a very impressive one.  I'll be eagerly looking for more from Klaussmann in the future."

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