Tigers in Red Weather by Liza Klaussmann

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.

Brilliantly told from five points of view, with a magical elegance and suspenseful dark longing, Tigers in RedWeather is an unforgettable debut novel from a writer of extraordinary insight and accomplishment.

Sharonne’s review

I opened this book on a sweltering August morning in Vancouver.  I had heard that the book is written by Liza Klaussmann, Herman Melville’s great-great-great granddaughter and I wondered would it live up to the greatest American novel.  At first glance, the cover reminded me of Daisy in the Great Gatsby, I was quite intrigued.  Indeed, the story is reminiscent of the Great Gatsby – the colours, the descriptions, the relationships.  It is a story told through the eyes of four different protagonists, Nick (the unhappy wife), Daisy (her daughter), Helena (her cousin) and Ed (Helena’s psychopathic son).  It begins with the backdrop of World War II where Nick, the main character, (Nick is a girl if you are wondering) is describing married life.  It seems that it is not all that she expected.  It appears the man she so desperately fell in love with before the war, well enough to marry him anyway, is just not the same.  What happened over there? Eventually the story reveals what happened and truly paints a picture of an unhappy marriage, a self centred mother, a dependant cousin, and her truly psychopathic son, Ed.  There are so many facets that even a book club could enjoy a long discussion on this one. I will definitely pass this on to my friends.  


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