Mixed Fortunes

14 07 2010

East Fortune by James Runcie

As the author puts it on his website:

The novel begins with death but it ends with love; and, in the middle, I have tried to say something about family life. Families with sibling rivalries which are never quite expressed, families where sons are still treated as children by their parents – even if they are fifty years old; families in which things haven’t always turned out as people had either hoped or expected; families in which children are embarrassed by their parents but unsure what to make of their lives; families with secrets that some members know and others don’t; families where the same jokes are recycled every birthday and every Christmas.

The opening is a dramatic and sudden death but at heart this is a novel about families, sibling relationships, parental relationships and the dysfunctionalities which can be part of even the most seemingly happy family. I was drawn to this novel initially because of its setting (East Fortune is a village in East Lothian) but location is not particularly crucial here. Overall, it is an excellent read, a real page-turner and highly recommended.

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