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Publisher: Back Bay Books$12.00Tigers in Red Weather (Large Print Hardcover)
Publisher: Thorndike Press$31.99Tigers in Red Weather (Audio Compact Disc - Unabridged)
Publisher: Hachette Audio$23.98
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Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2012-06-25
- Reviewer: Staff
Set in bucolic, hoity-toity post-WWII Martha’s Vineyard, this unnerving literary thriller from the great-great-great-granddaughter of Herman Melville finds a family unmoored by an unsolved murder in their apparently porcelain community. At the debut novel’s center are two woman, Nick and Helena, cousins who grew up spending summers at their family’s cushy lakeside estate. Once carefree girls, now jaded women, they’ve since returned to Tiger House with their families, but their lives have lost much of the rosy glow they had before the murder. Selfish and aloof, Nick can’t stay faithful to her husband, the devoted but emotionally stunted Hughes. Helena, living apart from her sycophantic filmmaker husband, prefers pills and booze to dealing with her poor excuse for a relationship. Meanwhile, Nick and Hughes’s surprisingly well-adjusted daughter, Daisy, is engaged to a man with not so subtle designs on her nearly acquiescent mother, while Ed, Daisy’s childhood confidant and Helena’s creepy son, is hell-bent on ensuring Daisy is treated with respect, no matter what the cost. Told from the biased and often unreliable perspectives of each of these five players, Klaussmann’s carefully crafted soap opera skillfully commingles mystery with melodrama, keeping readers guessing about what really happened until the end. While her characters’ duplicitous behavior will elicit strong reactions, Ed’s psychological progression is the most fascinating to watch. The shocking finale, seen through Ed’s all-knowing eyes, scintillates as much as it satisfies. Agent: Caroline Wood, the Felicity Bryan Agency. (July 17)
When gilded lives begin to shatter
People are bound to be drawn to a novel written by Herman Melville’s great-great-great-granddaughter. But while author Liza Klaussmann’s literary roots may initially attract some readers to Tigers in Red Weather, her literary abilities will keep them riveted.
Tigers in Red Weather is one of the most anticipated novels of the summer season, and rightly so. The prose is crisp, plot enticing and pacing masterful. Told from the points of view of five engaging characters whose names, privilege and circumstances can be compared to those in The Great Gatsby, the dialogue and storyline here are as compelling as the sense of promise cousins Nick (a female) and Helena feel at the novel’s start.
It’s September 1945. Nick and Helena have just spent another summer on Martha’s Vineyard, lounging in the sun and hosting harborside gin parties at Tiger House in Edgartown, the family home their grandfather designed. Love, however, is about to change their lives. Nick’s husband is returning home from war, and Helena is moving to California to marry an insurance salesman. But not all lives turned out as planned, and there’s often a fine line between love and loathing. In Tigers in Red Weather, self-loathing and a loathing of others (some justified, some not), lead to infidelity, cruelty, drug abuse and the slow, painful unraveling of Nick and Helena’s once-solid family. Matters come to a head when Nick and Helena’s teenaged children discover a Portuguese maid murdered on the beach near Tiger House—her skull cracked open and her neck black from being strangled. Who is responsible?
Spanning more than 20 years and two generations, Tigers in Red Weather is a richly crafted story in which the setting is as much a character as those who inhabit it. A longtime journalist for the New York Times and winner of Barnard College’s Howard M. Teichmann Prize for creative writing, Klaussmann has created an exquisite and evocative story of family secrets that leaves the reader exhausted, exhilarated and, in tiger fashion, roaring for more.