I read Addition and loved it, so was keen to read another of Ms Jordan’s novels.
Here is the blurb …
One family. Nine momentous days. An unforgettable novel of love and folly and heartbreak.
It is 1939 and Australia is about to go to war. Deep in the working-class Melbourne suburb of Richmond it is business—your own and everyone else’s—as usual. And young Kip Westaway, failed scholar and stablehand, is living the most important day of his life.
Over the next seventy years the nine members of the Westaway clan will each experience their own momentous, transformative day. For Kip, for his adored sister Connie and for all the people they love, these nine days will show them exactly who they are.
This novel has a very Australian feel – quite nice to read something that feels familiar. Each chapter represents one day in the life of a particular family member and the story moves forwards and backwards in time. It is an interesting narrative structure and it works well. I am surprised that nine days over seventy years can give such a comprehensive picture of a family.
The Westaway’s are struggling. The father has died (fell off a tram while drunk), Kip has left school and is working as a stable hand, Mrs Westaway has taken a job and Connie too has given up Art school and they have taken in a border. They hope that Frank (Kip’s twin) who is still at school will win a scholarship to university and eventually rescue the family – however, as we discover from Frank’s day he is not the most selfless of people. When the border leaves in a huff, Connie gets a job at the newspaper where her father once worked and then there is hope that she might marry the widowed editor. However, she is in love with the young man across the road who has just been called up to active service (the photo on the cover is meant to be Connie and Jack and was taken by Kip). We also have a day in the life of Stanzi and Charlotte (Kip’s twin daughters), Annabel (Kip’s wife), Jean (Kip’s mother) and Alec (Kip’s grandson). Events in each chapter sometimes overlap providing a more complex understanding of the events.
This is a novel about families, sacrifice, keeping up appearances and love. It is an easy and quick read and well worth the effort.
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