If you’re a fan of Monica McInerney, you’ll want to read “The House of Memories.” And you should read it. It’s almost textbook McInerney style/characters/plot/outcome.
If you’ve not read any of Monica’s previous works, this is NOT the place to start. (Personally, I’d recommend “A Taste for It” or “At Home with the Templetons” as books that will make you an instant fan.)
The House of Memories is a pleasant enough read; fans have waited a while for this next offering, so were eagerly looking forward to this Christmas ’12 release. But, to put it bluntly Monica, you were off your game girl.
It’s like this. Lovely story about young woman, Ella & man, Aiden, falling in love, with her childhood being more than comprehensively discussed before we get to the part about the wedding and the arrival of their first born – Felix. All’s good. And then something goes wrong and it’s downhill from there.
Simply put, it’s a novel about relationships and how a tragedy affects those relationships.
McInerney dissects, rehashs, labours each and every point, every nuance, from every possible angle. More than once I asked myself, if she’d completed the book at some stage, presented it to her editor and was told to go away and write another 10,000 words. It reeked of padding. And reading it became hard work.
However by that time, I was hooked. I ploughed on, hoping against the odds that there would be some amazing twist, revelation – something.
For all her faults, I did love the heroine, Ella. Felix is incredibly easy to visualise and relate to and we’d all love a Lucas, Charlie and an Aiden in our lives. So for that, thank you Monica – your talent for characterisation didn’t go off the boil. You wrote a brilliant Jess! I did enjoy disliking her! And the fox device was gorgeous too!
Monica – I loved the progression you made through your previous, linked novels. I loved the fact that all your books are not strictly located in Australia and/or Ireland. But, this just didn’t come up to your standard.
And that made me sad. Not as sad as your heroine, thankfully. But sad. And yet hopeful that you’re next effort will bring back the “Monica –esque” we’ve come to know and love.
If I was pushed to play the numbers game, I’d give it 6 out of 10, but then, I’m a fan! For a newcomer to Miss McInerney, don’t buy it to read on a long flight. You’ll leave it behind in the seat pocket!
Oh – and PS. What’s with the title? For the life of me, what were you thinking, ‘cos I never worked out what it meant. What was wrong with “Lucas & Charlie, Aiden & Felix” ?!
Available now: Penguin RRP$29.99