Generation by Paula McGrath
|Generation by Paula McGrath|
|Category: General Fiction|
|Reviewer: Louise Jones|
|Summary: How do the decisions of parents impact upon the next generation?|
|Buy? yes||Borrow? yes|
|Pages: 256||Date: July 2015|
|Publisher: JM Originals|
|External links: Author's website|
How can we know the effect that our choices may have on the next generation? Even a seemingly minor decision has the potential to create ripples and waves of unforeseen repercussions in the future. This fascinating theme is explored in Generation, an intelligently-written début novel that approaches the subject from multiple perspectives over an eighty-year period.
Áine is a single mother in her thirties who seeks excitement and new horizons. Following advice from a friend, she takes a working holiday on an organic farm near Chicago, where she begins a relationship with the owner, Joe; a troubled young man who lives like a slob and is addicted to cannabis. Despite his obvious shortcomings, Joe can be quite charming and soon has the vulnerable Áine under his spell. Upon returning home, she plans her next visit to Joe's farm, but this time she takes her young daughter Daisy along. Áine has no clue as to the impact that this decision will have on Daisy's future life.
The book uses a 'revolving door' style of narration, which gives it unique appeal. Áine's story is at the heart of the book, but the story bounces off at all sorts of tangents along the way, revealing snippets of background information that fill in the bigger picture. Joe, in particular, is a captivating, multi-layered character, with plenty of depth. We read about his promising beginnings as a piano prodigy and how decisions made by his parents led him down a different path. Each new narrator gives the reader a fresh slant on the story and ensures that the resulting journey is never dull.
As the book went on, the storyline became more intense and gripping. I couldn't put it down. In fact, one night, I put the book down before bed and I had to get up and finish it at about two in the morning because I needed to know what was going to happen next!
Sadly, however, the final chapters did not live up to the rest of the book. The author took a brave risk in jumping the plot forward six years and completely switching the focus from Áine to a minor character who had only appeared a couple of times previously. Then, just as I was settling into this new storyline, the story bounced forward another eleven years and made a clumsy attempt to tie the previous storylines together. It didn't work for me and I felt that the result was messy. It left a lot of questions unanswered and it took the story in a direction that felt unnatural.
I enjoyed reading Generation, especially because of the unique narrative style and complex characters. The book felt fresh, new and different and I will be interested to see what this promising author comes up with next. Many thanks to the publishers for my review copy.
If you like stories with a multiple-narrative style, try The Weight of Silence by Heather Gudenkauf.
You can read more book reviews or buy Generation by Paula McGrath at Amazon.co.uk.
You can read more book reviews or buy Generation by Paula McGrath at Amazon.com.
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