Good Reading : March 2015
Clade James Bradley Ayoung couple, Adam and Ellie, are undergoing IVF treatment. For Ellie, this baby is an anchor in an uncertain world – a way to cope with the changes around her. Adam is in Antarctica, trying not to let his scientific studies make him pessimistic about the future. We then leap forward – and this is the heart of the novel – into that tomor row that Adam was so uncertain about. Each new chapter is a new part of the family history: Adam and Ellie’s child, their grandson and other adopted members of the clan, brought together by the global changes that Adam foresaw. At first the changing landscape plays a supporting role in the story. There are hints of changed weather patterns, which lead to species extinction and extreme weather events. While the course of humanity is irrevocably changed by the events of Clade, James Bradley’s characters show that the emotional core of humankind survives and adapts. Through love, loss and finally acceptance, they find a way to forge ahead in a world we can only imagine. This believable and finely crafted dystopian vision is far more likely than many of the other gruesome versions that have been forecast for us. None of the stor ies is complete, making this a read for those who like to think; you have to work with the clues in each of the stor ies and find the connections from one chapter to another. Clade is an insightful view into our future and is for the discerning reader. ★★★★ Hamish Hamilton $32.99 Reviewed by Lauren Cook GOOD READING MARCH 2015 43 GENERAL FICTION WOM word of mouth RATINGS ★ ★ ★★ ★★ ★★★ ★★★ ★★★★ ★★★★ ★★★★★ RG A Spool of Blue Thread Anne Tyler Anne Tyler is famous for her complex portrayal of family life and creating well-rounded and emotionally complex characters. In this new novel, Tyler explores several generations of the Whitshank family. We begin with parents Red and Abby, who are dealing with a surprise phone call. It’s from prodigal son Denny, who announces that he may be gay – something that is never mentioned again. Denny is the black sheep of the family – not because of this declaration, but because of his elusiveness. He never stays in one job or one place for long, and the family goes for long periods without hearing from him. In contrast, adopted son ‘Stem’ manages the family business. As Red and Abby age, Stem and his beautiful wife Nora move in to the family home when the parents stubbornly refuse to leave the hub of their family life. Denny, fur ious, returns to the fold, insistent that he is the logical choice to look after his ageing parents. The house itself forms a focal point for the novel. In the second half, the story rewinds several years to the previous generations. The purchase of the home puts the family firmly into the middle classes, but it also reveals weaknesses in the relationships. The strength of the writing relies upon its honesty and the delicate unravelling of the emotional life and myths of the family. This is a read worthy of your attention. ★★★★ Chatto & Windus $32.99 Reviewed by Lauren Cook Clade James Bradley AAtreatment. For Ellie, this baby is an anchor in an uncertain world – a way to cope with the changes around her. Adam is in Antarctica, A Spool of Blue Thread Anne Tyler AAportrayal of family life and creating well-rounded and emotionally complex characters. In this new novel, Tyler explores several generations of AUSTRALIAN AUTHOR About Anne Tyler Anne Tyler was born in 1941 in a Quaker commune. in the US. She now lives in Baltimore, Maryland; nearly all her novels are set in that city.