Review – Tigers in Red Weather
There’s one statement my colleagues at Eason and book club friends have heard me say countless times this year: ‘2012 has been an amazing year for fiction!’ I’ve spent the last few years immersed in the worlds of young adult novels and now feel fully prepared for a dystopian future so I thought it was time to see what the world of general fiction had to offer. I picked up Tigers In Red Weather, brought it on holiday and melted into the glamorous, gin fuelled 40’s, 50’s and 60’s America captured so vividly within the pages.
The debut novel from Liza Klaussmann, the great-great-great-granddaughter of Herman Melville, will undoubtedly travel the world through word-of-mouth recommendations. This haunting story, which sweeps across three decades and is told from the perspectives of five characters, is addictive.
“If there’s one thing you can be sure about in this life, it’s that you won’t always be kissing the right person.” This motherly advice from the affluent Nick Derringer to her misunderstood daughter Daisy sums up the effect that the five main characters have on each other throughout their intertwined lives. We first meet Nick and her close cousin Helena as they are about to embark on their adult lives. Their shared experience of hazy summer days at the Martha’s Vineyard family property The Tiger House has obviously created an unbreakable lifetime bond. While the bond never breaks, the relationship becomes sour as we follow the saga of Helena’s spiral into passiveness and reliance, Nick’s erratic behaviour brought on by the distance between her and her husband Hughes, and the unsettling relationship between Daisy and her cousin Ed. A series of horrifying events make one summer unforgettable for the young cousins. The hazy summer days as seen through a child’s eye are far from comforting and reminded me of the early story in Ian McEwan’s Atonement.
Through extensive attention to everyday detail and the layers of human relationships, Klaussmann has recreated an atmosphere akin to Richard Ford’s Revolutionary Road. But don’t get me wrong, Tigers In Red Weather is fresh and original and stands out for me as one of the best novels I’ve read in 2012.
Tigers in Red Weather by Liza Klaussmann is one of Eason’s Books of the Month for August.