“…relationships between men and women are about power. It’s all about the balance of power, and if you can’t get that right, then it’s a fight to the death.” (p. 258)
The Long, Hot Summer
Sphere; Little, Brown Book Group
Nine Lives. Four Generations. One Family. The MacEntees are no ordinary family. Determined to be different to other people, they have carved out a place for themselves in Irish life by the sheer force of their own personalities. But when a series of misfortunes befall them over the course of one long hot summer, even the MacEntees will struggle to make sense of who they are. Meet the MacEntees: Deirdre, the reluctant matriarch. Manus, the eccentric grandfather. Alma, the TV star who falls victim to a vicious assault. Mick, the European politician on the run from a media storm. Liam, the Government minister sacked by an angry electorate. Acushla, the model wife with an unhappy secret. Connie, the wild child turned exhausted young mother. Nora, the idealist, missing somewhere in the Middle East. And Macdara, the fragile and gentle soul of the family. As the MacEntees do battle with their misfortunes, Deirdre is planning a family party for her 80th birthday, and with it one final, shocking surprise. From Kathleen MacMahon, the Number One bestselling author of This is How it Ends, comes this powerful and poignant novel capturing a moment in the life of one family.
This is a very surprising read – surprising because of the way this made me feel as I was reading it! Reading this was so relaxing, enjoyable and entertaining. I generally favour reading crime fiction – the tension, the adrenaline, the surprise, The Long, Hot Summer was the antithesis of the crime fiction novels I read- it felt comfortable, put me at ease, made me smile, made me cheer; it wrapped me in the warmth of a family made of unique individuals, each with their own insightful stories to share; these voices even more poignant when together, this family has a wonderful dynamic and synergy.
Long ago I was an ardent fan of all things Maeve Binchy, particularly her wonderful character based narratives sited in Ireland with their great relationship exposes, Kathleen MacMahon’s writing reminds me so much of a modern day Binchy; well-developed empathetic characters, realistic dialogue, a narrative that feels natural, unassuming, with relationships under the microscope. This novel invites you to read on and for a couple of nights (till I finished this book) I looked forward to sitting down with this family and listening to their stories. I would like to read MacMahon’s first book – This Is How It Ends, so enamoured am I with this style of writing.