Tessa Hadley ||The Past

Sometimes you’re reading and you’re thinking ‘been there done that’. The Past is one of those novels. In it four siblings spend a last summer in their grandparents’ house in the archetypical British countryside. Their personalities and their mutual relationships are almost predictable. Even the fact that the Argentinian spouse turns out to be in some way involved in the Junta does not come as a surprise. It is as if Hadley, an American, has read too many British novels and watched too many British series. To be unkind: her main characters could turn up just like that in any British detective. There is no denying that Hadley writes well and that she depicts the main characters and their surroundings expertly. Towards the final pages the whole situation explodes as could be expected: one of the siblings makes an unwanted pass and the holiday comes to an abrupt end. That Hadley at the end almost casually refers to a lump found in a breast to make this sister appear less shallow I find extremely annoying. Or might it be that she is already planning The Past Part 2? Nice enough this novel but nowhere near making a lasting impression. Maybe Hadley should stick to her side of the ocean for her next novel and write about the people she knows best. Maybe she can depict them without resorting to clichés.



About booksandliliane

I am an avid reader and love to share my love for literature. I have my own opinion on books that have been shortlisted, laureated by critics or are pushed on us by bookstores. I will try and explain why I like or do not like a book. Hopefully influencing you in your choice of books to read.
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