May 21, 2014

Book Review: Three Junes

From Good Reads: A luminous first novel, set in Greece, Scotland, Greenwich Village, and Long Island, that traces the members of a Scottish family as they confront the joys and longings, fulfillments and betrayals of love in all its guises.

In June of 1989 Paul McLeod, a newspaper publisher and recent widower, travels to Greece, where he falls for a young American artist and reflects on the complicated truth about his marriage. 

Six years later, again in June, Paul's death draws his three grown sons and their families back to their ancestral home. Fenno, the eldest, a wry, introspective gay man, narrates the events of this unforeseen reunion. Far from his straitlaced expatriate life as a bookseller in Greenwich Village, Fenno is stunned by a series of revelations that threaten his carefully crafted defenses. 

Four years farther on, in yet another June, a chance meeting on the Long Island shore brings Fenno together with Fern Olitsky, the artist who once captivated his father. Now pregnant, Fern must weigh her guilt about the past against her wishes for the future and decide what family means to her. 

In prose rich with compassion and wit, Three Junes paints a haunting portrait of love's redemptive powers.

My Thoughts: I liked this book. I didn't love and I certainly wouldn't call it a Must-Read. It's a bit deceiving. Framing it the way that it's framed..."set in Greece, Scotland..." makes it sound like a travel novel, when it isn' all. These places are merely places where the characters go or live; their experiences in each of these places are more about their daily rituals, than about traveling through them.

The book is divided into three sections: 1989, 1995 and 1999 and takes place in June of each. I liked the first section, yet again, this was deceiving. Paul does not fall for a young American artist, he simply meets one who steals his attention. The relationship isn't romantic at all.

I loved the middle section. It switches back and forth between Fenn's experiences in Scotland as he prepares for his father's funeral, to his memories of watching his friend Mal, lose his battle to AIDS back in New York. I loved the relationship between Fenno and Mal and the way it progressed.

The third section introduced Fern, who was so insignificant of a character in the first section that I had completely forgotten who she was. It never comes up that she met Fenno's father all those years ago in Greece, so I'm not sure what the book description/back of the book were trying to say when they described her as having "captivated" Paul. This section also kept Tony, a character who Fenno had been involved with in the previous section, in the story and he was a character who I just hated and didn't want to see more of.

All in all, this book was ok. The book description was misleading. I think I would have liked it better if I had just picked it up, but I'm not sure.

1 comment:

  1. Great review! I hate it when books deceive you on things. I get that there has to be some mystery, but don't tell me one thing and that's not really true. The last book I read was kinda like that. Made it seem like it was a love story (which it was) but the main part of the story (which didn't start until about 70% of the way through the book) had nothing to do with that. I threw me


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