The premise of this novel intrigued me–siblings coming together in the wake of their father’s death. One sibling, Armie, lives in his parents’ basement, shell-shocked by life and failure and possibly on the autism spectrum (which he shares with his nephew). Another, Josef, is a wheeling-dealing businessman, sex addict, and divorcee in New York City. The third, Charlie, is fighting addiction to Enabletol, her husband’s infidelity, her employer’s ridiculous demands, and the increasing needs of her autistic (although they never use the word) young son.
Ana and George seem to have shared an idyllic life–young marriage, building an antiques business together, raising three children, moving upstate, and growing old together (or starting to). Until Ana reveals that a decade has passed since they’ve slept together. And until George dies from his second bout of colon cancer in the midst of a horrible East Coast storm.
D’Agostino moves between the characters as their lives march on and, for George, towards a close. The characters are well-developed, even if their dominant characteristics take center stage.
The question that remained for me was why, with such seeming idyllic childhoods, did all three children end up with near-crippling problems–two with addictions and Armie with fear and very low self-confidence. D’Agostino ends the novel with a musing about life in Ana’s voice, and maybe that was meant to wrap it all up. The characters and plot seemed well-suited to a holiday-release family movie attended by women and men who lost the date-night coin toss. It won’t be earth-shatteringly revelatory, but it will be a good escape, much like the novel.
Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher, Simon Schuster, for an advanced review copy of this novel.