Publishing year: 2013
The book starts in 1976 with Eddie Taylor.
He’s a script writer for the BBC and is married with two young children. The impression I got from him was not a very good one. The man is returning home after having slept with another woman. He’s not a happy man with his wife. He admits she’s beautiful, but since they had the children, she’s morose, and he’s come to realize what a terrible wife he is. The house is a mess, and he doesn’t care about preparing food for him or even herself. I have the impression they shouldn’t have married in the first place or become parents. The man is too full of himself, and even have the nerve to pass judgement on his children because they’re chubby. We never hear Diana’s voice, but I have the impression she doesn’t care much about her husband or children. Maybe my thoughts are a bit old-fashioned or staid, but I think if she cared for her family, she would have tried to make life for them better, keeping the house clean and cooking some hot meals.
We then jump to 1982 when we are introduced to Clara. She’s a housewife, married to Tim, and mother to Lisa, Joanna, and Mark. She seems to be the perfect mother and wife, but from her thoughts I gather that she has a wild streak to her. She worked for the BBC for a while before having Mark, and I think he had an affair with Eddie.
In 2005 the children have grown. We get to meet Dean, Eddie’s son, and we learn that he’s an important publicist in Chicago. He’s a philanderer who doesn’t care for a particular woman. A call from a hospital makes him think about his past and childhood. The call is from a hospital in London, informing him that his father is dying and wants to see him. Dean hasn’t seen his father for 25 years or so, and the man never cared to see him or his sister Zoe while they were growing up. He simply walked out of their lives. Dean doesn’t really want to see him, but he travels to London anyway and goes to the hospital. Zoe is even bitterer than him, and refuses to hear anything else about her father. They both had issues as they grew up, and I guess that the influence of their mother wasn’t good either. I wonder why Eddie wants to see his son after all this time. I didn’t like him in the first pages, and I can’t understand how somebody can forget their children so easily and not care about their well-being.
Apart from Dean, we get to know Jo, who is Clara’s daughter. Jo is single and working for a bridal magazine. Jo is unhappy because she’s not married, and that has been her only aim in life. She feels she’s getting old, and all her friends and acquaintances get married while she doesn’t. I think Jo is quite naive and a bit simple. In her obsession with marriage, she lets men use her. I guess she should have learnt by now not to trust the first man she comes across, but she seems to be a hopeless case. Now she has even lost her job!