Tuesday, 3 July 2012

The Red House

Finished July 2
The Red House by Mark Haddon

This novel takes place over a week. Richard and his sister Angela have had little contact in recent years. Richard paid for his mother's nursing home and Angela visited her weekly. At the funeral of his mother, Richard is struck by the fact that this is his family and invites Angela and her family on a country vacation in Wales with his wife and stepdaughter.
Richard's wife Louisa feels that her working class background means she must work harder to please Richard by following his high culture interests. Louisa's daughter Melissa is part of the in-crowd at her school, but resents the world around her.
Angela is a good teacher, but feels her role is to be responsible for all those around her, and yet she resents anyone else taking on these tasks. She doesn't know how to nurture herself, and feels caught in the past, a past that she has mythologized. Angela's husband Dominic is a sensitive man, who feels diminished by the loss of his career as a musician. He has begun an affair with another woman in an effort to feel loved, a move not very successful for him. He wants to be a good father, but is wary about taking the lead. Their son Alex is an independent young man, with a plan for the future, a passion for adventure sports, and like most teenage boys, a strong interest in the female sex. Daughter Daisy has recently turned to religion as a place to feel wanted, but is finding that it is coming through for her as she imagined. Where does her resentment come from, and is she willing to face it? Son Benjy lives in a fantasy world in his head, a world of battles and dangers, and yet is fearful of anything that may threaten his real world.
Put all these people together in a house for a week in the country, a place with bad cellphone reception but surrounded by nature, and you get some interesting things happen.
There are realizations, decisions made, and connections that grow between family members. An interesting story of relationship dynamics.

1 comment:

  1. I so looking forward to reading this one as well.