Books about dysfunctional families are one of my top favourite niche genres. There’s a little solace in knowing that your family could be… worse. But whenever I read these books, they tend to be written from the female perspective so I was excited to finally get the perspective of the men.
Brian Fenton has a lot on his plate. His father’s dementia is quickly progressing and his delinquent son has come back with a whole new burden. Not to mention he’s at the age where he has to figure out if he’s going to retire or fight to keep his job. Will he use his family to help him? Or are they just going to stay an even bigger burden?
The main problem you’ll see in contemporary novels is that the characters won’t seem realistic. They’ll be choppy and caricature like with stupid filler lines. Smith doesn’t fall into this trap. His characters are unique for sure, but aren’t unrealistic. They have universal goals and struggles that everyone can relate to, even if you’re not in the exact same situation. Each character brings something new to the story and theres no characters that seem to be there just for the sake of it.
The plot line is engaging and keeps you hooked. This is the sort of book you can read on and off without feeling you’re missing too much. It’s an easy read and a good one. Scenes flow into one another and the small nuances of daily life really add to the atmosphere. There are no ~filler~ scenes. Everything is done to develop either the characters or the plot line so you don’t feel like you’re being bored.
The writing is very down to earth and understandable. It’s not over the top but not so casual that its weird. Its the perfect style for a contemporary novel written in first person. Some of the characters writing style is similar though, so without the headings at the begging of each chapter I probably wouldn’t have been able to distinguish them. But other wise a very well written novel.
Final thoughts: Recommend to people who are looking for a nice multi generational contemporary read.