Catch a Tiger

“Those whom we most love are often the most alien to us."
Christopher Paolini, Eldest

Nick and Helena are cousins in Liza Klaussmann’s Tigers in Red Weather.  They have spent their childhood summers together on Martha’s Vineyard at Tiger House, their

grandparent’s summer home, and continue to come back as adults with their own families.   They both have husbands who have gone off to fight in World War II.  (Nick’s husband comes back; Helena’s does not.)  And they both have dark sides to their personalities that make them ultimately unknowable to those that love them the most. 

When their children, Daisy and Ed, come across a dead body, everyone’s life changes in ways that no one could have predicted.  The novel is driven by the family relationships and the body becomes a catalyst that changes the family dynamic.  The author dives into the characters, exposing their imperfections and their strengths as they try to understand one another, without exposing their own secrets which could potentially tear the family apart. 

The story is told through multiple points of view, so we see the same set of events through different eyes.  With each re-telling, we gain a little more information and the puzzles make a little more sense.  By the end, we have the whole (sometimes sordid) story.  Even though life on the Island might seem like it’s all gin and tonics in the sun, you never know what secrets lurk beneath the surface.

1 comment:

MS said...

By the way, here's the Wallace Stevens poem from which the novel gets its name:

Disillusionment of Ten O'Clock

The houses are haunted
By white night-gowns.
None are green,
Or purple with green rings,
Or green with yellow rings,
Or yellow with blue rings.
None of them are strange,
With socks of lace
And beaded ceintures.
People are not going
To dream of baboons and
Only, here and there, an old
Drunk and asleep in his boots,
Catches tigers
In red weather.