From the slow-burning marketing campaign that has accompanied its release to its period cover image, everything about this debut fiction screams carefully constructed style.
Liza Klaussmann’s entry into the fiction arena after a decade at The New York Times arrives with some degree of literary hullaballoo – she is the great-granddaughter of Herman Melville. In that respect, this book does not disappoint.
Told using a shifting narrative involving the perspectives of five characters and draped across two decades of post-war America (the novel begins the month after the end of the Second World War), Klaussmann lights fuses and engineers trouble almost from the off, casting two characters – Nick and Helena – to opposite ends of the country and allowing their lives to unfold across a wide canvas.
She does so with prose as carefully pieced together as that aforementioned promotional push, although there are some minor quibbles with this readable debut. Sometimes her characters seem just too cinematic in their rendering. When one wearily says “life is boring”, the only reality we can be certain of is that it won’t be for long.