Published by Little Brown & Company on July 17, 2012
From Goodreads: Nick and her cousin, Helena, have grown up sharing sultry summer heat, sunbleached boat docks, and midnight gin parties on Martha's Vineyard in a glorious old family estate known as Tiger House. In the days following the end of the Second World War, the world seems to offer itself up, and the two women are on the cusp of their 'real lives': Helena is off to Hollywood and a new marriage, while Nick is heading for a reunion with her own young husband, Hughes, about to return from the war.
Soon the gilt begins to crack. Helena's husband is not the man he seemed to be, and Hughes has returned from the war distant, his inner light curtained over. On the brink of the 1960s, back at Tiger House, Nick and Helena—with their children, Daisy and Ed—try to recapture that sense of possibility. But when Daisy and Ed discover the victim of a brutal murder, the intrusion of violence causes everything to unravel. The members of the family spin out of their prescribed orbits, secrets come to light, and nothing about their lives will ever be the same.
Brilliantly told from five points of view, with a magical elegance and suspenseful dark longing, Tigers in Red Weather is an unforgettable debut novel from a writer of extraordinary insight and accomplishment.
Sometimes you pick up a book and you know from the first few pages that you are going to love it. This is one of those books. Tigers in Red Weather by first-timer Liza Klaussmann (she’s so new she doesn’t even have a Wikipedia page) is a story about family, marriage and obligations. It takes place over the course of two decades, beginning with the end of World War II and into the late 1960’s, and is narrated (in sections) by all five of the main characters. There is a murder, but that fact is both omnipresent and unimportant at the same time. Sounds cliché, I know, but the book is really much better than the description I’m giving. I promise!
I knew from the first few pages that this was a book that I wanted to curl up with and read from cover to cover. Of course, life got in the way, but I still loved the time I spent imagining I was in a glorious Massachusetts beach cottage with Nick, Hughes, Helena, Daisy and Ed.
“Sometimes a thing like that, a thing you’ve never even imagined in your head, can go down surprisingly easy.”
This is one of those sentences that jumped out at me and I knew it was going to be important the minute I read it. It takes place on page 33, but it stayed with me right up until the very end of this wonderful book. This book is, in fact, filled with all sorts of little clues that will keep you reading hungrily for more. I had all sorts of questions scribbled down, such as, “Did she do that on purpose? Why was he there? What was he thinking? Are they really going to do that?”
The only thing that I didn’t love about the book was the narration of Helena. Helena is a central character and I feel like her section was hurried and underdeveloped. Her story was both tragic and unfinished, which left me wanting for more (and not in a good way).
Subtle oddities are what propel this book forward
Unlike some books (like White Oleander) this one was rich and full of life without being tedious and overwritten. I had no problem envisioning the setting and didn’t feel stifled by detail overkill. The author’s way of describing difficulties in a marriage seemed dead-on, and although the author loves to foreshadow upcoming events, the important clues are subtle. They are in the tilt of a head or the way a question is asked. Even the murder that is present throughout the book is riding an underground current that is always in the back of the reader’s mind but never quite makes it to the forefront. Subtle oddities are what propel this book forward to and ending I wasn’t expecting (the last book to surprise me was Gone Girl).
In sum, the book as a whole is beautifully written and has a great story. It’s not as sappy as Anita Shreve (who I like) but will bring the you into a world that is both seductive and unnerving at the same time. Read it, because I can’t express how great this book is!