Author: Tracy Farr
Publisher: Aardvark Bureau
Type of book: Australia, last 100 years, life, family, complexity, relationships, first love, shifting roles, science, role of science, weekend, selling house, party, secrets
Year it was published: 2018
Iris’s family – her ex-husband with his new wife and baby; her son, and her best friend’s daughter – gather to pack up their holiday house. They are there for one last time, one last weekend, and one last party – but in the course of this weekend, their connections will be affirmed, and their frailties and secrets revealed – to the reader at least, if not to each other. The Hope Fault is a novel about extended family: about steps and exes and fairy godmothers; about parents and partners who are missing, and the people who replace them.
There are no villainous characters, and there are no perfect characters,but instead these are people and not specific archetypes. People who are imperfect yet perfect, who are somewhere in-between rather than all white or black. Having said that, its a bit difficult for me to describe one person as one way, and the other as the other way. Suffice to say, the characters are important to one another in their lives and are creative and make use of their creativity. They also treat one another civily and more as friends. (Where in the world will you get ex-spouses together who are friendly to one another, especially when one of them is married with a baby and an almost adult son? And where family did not get torn by divorce?) I really do need to re-read the book to fully grasp the complexity of the tale.
Complexity of family is related to complexity of the world
The story is told in third person and first narrative from multiple characters' points of views. The third person narrative takes place in the present day of Rosa's daughter's family and friends, while the first person narrative is of Rosa. I also think its the first time in a long time that I question the choice of having third person narrative for everyone but Rosa. The tale is of details, of small significant happenings, which means its of a family and friends getting together and just doing ordinary everyday things during the weekend. There is nothing earth shattering, although quite a number of things are left unfinished and are likely to remain unfinished in the novel. What is also unique is Rosa's point of view because instead of going from start to finish, the story is finish to start which makes it a challenging read. (Never having read that sort of tale, because I am more used to beginning or media res,) but it begins with events from the time Rosa is 100 to the time she is born and it focuses a lot on specific events of her life. I think I found it challenging mainly because I had to remember the previous events going backwards instead of forwards.
(From the book)
Tracy Farr is a novelist and short story writer who used to be a scientist. SHe grew up in Australia, and has lived in New Zealand for twenty years; she calls both places home. Her debut novel THE LIFE AND LOVES OF LENA GAUNT (Freemantle Press), was longlisted for the 2014 Miles Franklin Literary Award, shortlisted in 2014 for teh WA Premier's Book Awards adn Barbara Jefferis Award, and subsequently published in the UK and US. THE HOPE FAULT is her second novel.
I had very fond memories of my college years, and one class in particular taught me a valuable lesson: to see the disciplines of humanities and science as not different but ultimately the same. The stories I read in that particular class have truly underscored a wonderful writing style when the author is talented in both "disparate" fields. Reading THE HOPE FAULT put me back into that wonderful time of unlimited time and possibilities and of complexity of the world. This is truly a unique story of everyday life, and of one life in particular and the secrets it holds and doesn't release. A wonderful multi-layered story that deserves multiple re-reads.
This was given to me for an honest review
5 out of 5
(0: Stay away unless a masochist 1: Good for insomnia 2: Horrible but readable; 3: Readable and quickly forgettable, 4: Good, enjoyable 5: Buy it, keep it and never let it go.)