Sunday, August 19, 2012

Tigers in Red Weather by Liza Klaussmann

5 Star

Summer seemed to arrive at that moment, with its mysterious mixture of salt, cold flesh and fuel.

 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.

Lydia - 5 Star

Tigers in Red Weather is an absorbing and entrancing read and was completely different from anything I've read recently. With a heavy Gatsby feel, these dysfunctional characters leap off the pages and the setting sparkles. A novel full of love, deceit, and family secrets carried along with a subtle creepy vibe, this one kept me riveted.

This book felt like summer. Humid, sweltering days hung in the air, just like the suspense that kept me gripped throughout this novel. The description in this novel floored me. It was sparse, sprinkled in between dialogue, and yet it was perfect. The heat was palpable, the summer home and parties held there stunning and decadent and the town’s glamour and inhabitants portrayed with such ease that you feel like you’re right up beside them. Anyone interested in writing needs to study this one. I took time to marvel at it as I was reading, and not just for the description, but the characters and dialogue.

With swift, deft characterizations via brief description, dialogue, and actions, we are treated to some intriguing characters in Tigers in Red Weather. I didn't really love any of them, but I was so mesmerized by them, by their complexity that I tore through the pages, desperate to find out why they do what they do, and then what they're going to do next.

Tigers in Red Weather is written from five points of view, describing in part some of the same events from different perspectives which I thoroughly enjoyed. It was a fascinating reminder of how every person present at an event can perceive it so differently, especially when such different personalities are involved. The psychology major in me loved this, as it did the complex characters.

I did wish there was a bit more to Ed's story in the end. Maybe I'm a bit morbid - or just fascinated by psychology - but I wanted more insight into his mind, not just being told what you can already guess and I wanted this section longer. I wanted to know about boarding school and the years in between where he learns how to channel his desires. I realize this could have been another book in itself, and maybe that's the reason for the brevity, but I felt something was missing from this section. I completely appreciated though how each character becomes complicit in his outcome by not acknowledging the situation.

This family draws together to defend each other, but also tears each other apart, sometimes by protecting one another. Tigers in Red Weather is a fascinating read on family dynamics, peeling off the layers to reveal the good, the bad and the ugly and how the words we speak and especially the ones left unspoken, can help or hurt us. Pick this one up today if you’re looking for an intriguing, compelling, character driven read with a hint of chilling suspense.

Thank you to Double Day Canada for our review copy! All opinions are our own.

Connect with Liza Klaussmann here:

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