A debut from British Greenwood, examining a group of friends who have a life-altering summer week.
The chapters alternate between November 2004 and August 1994 and revolve around a group of 30-something Londoners linked by blood, marriage and friendship. The three Fielding sisters couldn’t be more different, though they do agree that their mother Lucy (a bestselling author of self-help books jammed with life-affirming platitudes) is a bit bonkers. Youngest Grace is a rising star in the year’s hottest nighttime soap. Thea, sexy and aloof, is just back from a few years lawyering in L.A. Her twin sister Amy is experiencing a minor mid-life crisis, escalated now that she’s found out she’s pregnant. Her husband, dependable James, is having a slight setback of his own (an elevator phobia) and is seeking the advice of a young shrink named Patrick, while his best friend Archie is the only one of the bunch with a real set of problems: His girlfriend just left him; his magazine is being liquidated; and he is going in for surgery on what might be testicular cancer. The short chapters set in 2004 give the somewhat plot-less tale a bit of momentum. Amy is now consulting Patrick, the psychologist her husband saw ten years earlier, and the book’s climax comes in the form of revelations divulged during her sessions. Greenwood’s strength, though, is her examination of the compelling assortment of grown-up characters, all struggling with messy problems.
A well-done character study of lives in mini-crisis, with a meandering plot.