The Past

The Past

eBook - 2015
Average Rating:
Rate this:
8
Over five novels and two collections of stories Tessa Hadley has earned a reputation as a fiction writer of remarkable gifts, and been compared with Elizabeth Bowen and Alice Munro. In her new novel three sisters and a brother meet up in their grandparents' old house for three long, hot summer weeks. The house is full of memories of their childhood and their past - their mother took them there when she left their father - but now they may have to sell it. And under the idyllic surface, there are tensions. Roland has come with his new wife and his sisters don't like her. Kasim, the twenty-year-old son of Alice's ex-boyfriend, makes plans to seduce Molly, Roland's teenage daughter. Fran's children uncover an ugly secret in a ruined cottage in the woods. Passion erupts where it's least expected, blasting the quiet self-possession of Harriet, the oldest sister. A way of life - bourgeois, literate, ritualised - winds down to its inevitable end. With uncanny precision and extraordinary sympathy, Tessa Hadley charts the squalls of lust and envy disrupting this ill-assorted house party, as well as the consolations of memory and affection, the beauty of the natural world, the shifting of history under the social surface. From the first page the reader is absorbed and enthralled, watching a superb craftsman at work --
Publisher: London :, Jonathan Cape,, 2015
ISBN: 9780345816139
Characteristics: 1 online resource
text file, rda
Additional Contributors: OverDrive, Inc. - Distributor

Related Resources


Opinion

From the critics


Community Activity

Comment

Add a Comment

m
MyTake
Feb 26, 2018

I enjoyed her prose -- sometimes her sentences were so descriptive, they stopped me in my tracks! But since I prefer more plot and pace, the book dragged along too slowly for me.

e
EmilyEm
Jul 15, 2017

Four siblings spend their summer holiday at their grandparents’ isolated English country estate—an old vicarage—with assorted children, a new wife and a young man, son of an old boyfriend in tow.

Seen from varying points of view, old and new rivalries and passions, bubble into view. Sometimes messy, sometimes endearing. Prose like a reverie, but a little low on plot. Secrets were a little predictable to me

a
Aldeery
Nov 26, 2016

Loved this book. Can't believe I've never read anything by her. So like family life - messy, awkward, rich, and so evocative of a disappearing kind of life. The encroachment of foreigners into private, bourgeois British life does a contrapuntal dance with the activism of both the 60's of Tom and Jill and the, what, 80's? of Harriet. And history seems to be variations on a theme where the relationships of Hettie and Roly, and Ivy and Arthur are concerned. And is Mikey Fran's father?
I loved the descriptions of the English countryside and weather, particularly those from Harriet's point of view.

c
cmb8
Jun 14, 2016

enjoyed the book

j
jenoteacher
Jun 02, 2016

Masterful narrative arc. I loved the unexpected plot twists... Harriet's sudden, illogical, crushing crush on Pilar, The childrens' superstitious ritual play, and most of all, the puff of dust that hangs in the air around the derelict cabin at the end. I believed in these characters.

l
lostintheshelves
May 05, 2016

This utterly English novel probes family dynamics with beautiful prose, but the author's chilly remove from her characters (even more than the lack of momentum) kept me from being truly swept up. Attentive readers will see parallels the characters miss, especially once the 2nd section shows us the previous generation, and we realize how fully the Cranes of the present are re-living their parents' mistakes.

Tessa Hadley's book is an elegy for the English gentry--rural, middle-class, Anglican liberals who are disappearing along with the farmers they once lorded over--but as a USian I found it hard to relate. Eldest sister Harriet's story follows too closely the clichés straight literary writers usually use for lesbian characters, and minor characters like Fran and Molly are underdeveloped to the point of blankness. That said, the plot picks up toward the end before concluding with a moment powerfully quiet and sad, and many people, unlike me, will probably love the book.

u
uncommonreader
Apr 10, 2016

Although I sometimes find Hadley's work on the edge between insightful and banal, I liked this story of a bourgeois and literate family and what lies below the surface of their lifes. I also liked the structure of the novel - the present, the past, the present and found it added depth and understanding to each of the characters. Recommended.

karcoldelharvic5 Mar 14, 2016

One word---boring. Too much time spent on descriptions and persons thoughts. The - before there was a conversation instead of quotation marks was annoying. The middle of the book goes back into the past with no rhyme or reason why. Truly disappointing if you read all the comments and the book description.

Age Suitability

Add Age Suitability

There are no age suitabilities for this title yet.

Summary

Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.

Notices

Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.

Quotes

Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Recommendations

Subject Headings

  Loading...

Find it at FVRL

  Loading...
[]
[]
To Top