The Locals

They were saying that all appointments were canceled, indefinitely, that it was the end of everything, but why would they assume that?

Last time I read this author I wasn’t quite sure how to recommend the book, and this time it isn’t much different. There’s an appeal to his writing, but the story? Not just a collection of too human people (you start with the honeymoon phase and you end up wanting to throttle them), but mostly not much happens? So why would I still, pretty surely, recommend this novel?

Maybe because it offers an uncensored view of “normal” Americans outside one of the well known states. Small town in Massachusetts in the aftermath of 9/11, but soon moving their attention back to their small town politics and each other. Not even the rich outsider can change that (permanently).

I like family sagas, following the same people through time and (family) issues. Usually I try to pick less familiar surroundings than western society, but these people are so alienating in their paranoid and petty thoughts, that things turn out pretty exotic after all.

The Locals, Jonathan Dee, Random House 2017

The Privileges

A wedding!

Rich people getting richer and investing it in all kinds of things, followed for give or take twenty years. If it would have been written by a woman and for a younger audience, it would have been compared with Gossip Girl.

Is this comedy, or slice-of-life? Does the family portrayed deserve sympathy or is this only a devoted piece to capitalism?

Possibly all of the above. When it’s mentioned that there’s more money “than we know what to do with” or that will last four human beings several life times, it’s easy to curl a nose up in disgust. Even when the age old Money Doesn’t Buy Happiness gets more and more support, because oh no — the rich girl has decision-stress.
And yet. Jonathan Dee manages to keep the human side of things very close. That way The Privileges stays mildly interesting, easy to read. In the end, an adult Gossip Girl with more mention of finances, less brand name dropping and more believable characters.

The Privileges, Jonathan Dee, Corsair 2011