Wednesday 15 August 2012

Review: 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 Red Weather is an unforgettable debut novel from a writer of extraordinary insight and accomplishment. (via Goodreads)

It's rare to find a novel that is so complex yet so easy to follow, but Tigers in Red Weather is definitely one of them.

It documents the lives of a family over three decades during the mid-twentieth century, focusing on six individual members. Five of them have a section of the book dedicated to their own point of view, so you get to witness how significant events are seen through one person's eyes as opposed to another.

Although the jumps from character to character are well choreographed, it can still be a little confusing at the beginning. There are also jumps in time – one chapter you can be in 1967, the next in 1945, and then perhaps in 1958. But once you get your bearings, it becomes very easy to enjoy. It also helps that the narrator makes pop culture references that are relevant to each iconic decade, which is marvellous because you get a real feel for the time periods.

I just thoroughly enjoyed this book. Though I knew there was a murder involved, it was still much darker and more diverse than I expected it to be. I loved the mystery, the suspense, and the undeniable glamour. The characters are complex and intriguing, and you end up caring for a lot of them. It's fantastic to see their personalities and relationships evolve as the years move on, as well.

Tigers in Red Weather is a novel that is going to stick in my mind for a long time. If you're looking for a well-written, glamorous summer read with a vintage feel, wonderful characters, and a plot to die for (pun intended!), I wholeheartedly recommend this.

Rating: 4.5 / 5