"What good can the past do the living? Read more...
"What good can the past do the living? What harm?" Growing up in their family's ancestral home in Wales, Jonathan Anthony and his little sister, Theo, are inseparable. Together they explore the wild acres of Evendon, inventing magical worlds and buttressing each other against the loneliness of life with their alcoholic mother, Alicia, and a shifting cast of gossiping cooks and maids. When a family tragedy brings their glamorous grandmother, Eve, home from America, Jonathan and Theo are initially elated by the attention she lavishes on them. But soon it becomes clear that there is more to the Anthony family history than either Eve or Alicia will acknowledge, trapping Jonathan and Theo in a web of dark secrets that have haunted Evendon for generations.
Written in luminous prose, with richly endearing characters and a profound appreciation for the rustic beauty of the Welsh countryside, The Other Half of Me is a darkly wise coming-of-age novel and a masterful portrait of a family and the burdens of the past.
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2012-07-30
- Reviewer: Staff
In McCarthy’s evocative debut, the upper-class childhoods of seven-year-old Jonathan Anthony and his younger sister, Theo, are the stuff of a modern fairy tale. Growing up mostly unsupervised on a rambling Welsh manor called Evendon, the siblings, despite their differences (Jonathan is a good student, while Theo struggles to wrest her attention away from dreamy preoccupations), are inseparable, whether carousing in the secret garden, stealing canapés, or hiding beneath tables at fancy parties hosted by their grandmother, Eve, and graced by their drunken, detached mother. The garden, with its deep, dark pool, is emblematic for the children of Evendon’s innumerable mysteries, as well as their aristocratic family’s many secrets. The most affecting and curious for Jonathan and Theo is what really happened to their father; Eve told them he died years ago, but Theo believes otherwise, and this doubt threatens to drive her to insanity. Culminating in a tear-jerking conclusion, McCarthy deftly conjures the ghosts of the Anthony family’s past to wreak havoc on—and enrich—its tragic present. Agent: Jo Unwin, Conville & Walsh. (Sept.)