Category Archives: National Book Awards

Book Review: Three Junes by Julia Glass

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Summary from Bookbrowse:

Three Junes is a vividly textured symphonic novel set on both sides of the Atlantic during three fateful summers in the lives of a Scottish family. In June of 1989, Paul McLeod, the recently widowed patriarch, becomes infatuated with a young American artist while traveling through Greece and is compelled to relive the secret sorrows of his marriage. Six years later, Paul’s death reunites his sons at Tealing, their idyllic childhood home, where Fenno, the eldest, faces a choice that puts him at the center of his family’s future. A lovable, slightly repressed gay man, Fenno leads the life of an aloof expatriate in the West Village, running a shop filled with books and birdwatching gear. He believes himself safe from all emotional entanglements–until a worldly neighbor presents him with an extraordinary gift and a seductive photographer makes him an unwitting subject. Each man draws Fenno into territories of the heart he has never braved before, leading him toward an almost unbearable loss that will reveal to him the nature of love.
Love in its limitless forms–between husband and wife, between lovers, between people and animals, between parents and children–is the force that moves these characters’ lives, which collide again, in yet another June, over a Long Island dinner table. This time it is Fenno who meets and captivates Fern, the same woman who captivated his father in Greece ten years before. Now pregnant with a son of her own, Fern, like Fenno and Paul before him, must make peace with her past to embrace her future. Elegantly detailed yet full of emotional suspense, often as comic as it is sad, Three Junes is a glorious triptych about how we learn to live, and live fully, beyond incurable grief and betrayals of the heart–how family ties, both those we’re born into and those we make, can offer us redemption and joy.

 

My Rating:

 

Ambivalence is the word I’d use to describe what I felt after reading this book. I simply didn’t know how to explain the neutrality that I felt.

It’s not that the writing was bad or the story was off. Because it is well-written and  the story was well-weaved. The author was very good in creating a clear picture of what was happening. She’s also adept at describing each character that somehow I felt I’ve known them all my life. But, in the end, I didn’t really see a clear message. My thought bubble a day after reading the book was “What’s the point again?” And this question keeps popping up not because I forgot what the message was. I simply couldn’t identify her original intended message.

Don’t get me wrong though. It’s not that I didn’t like it. After all I gave it three hearts which means I liked it. I do recommend that you think twice before reading it. I guess with this book, a reader would have different lessons and insights to take home. And maybe , whatever that take home lesson is, would depend on how much you relate to the story or the character/s. Unfortunately, for me, there’s little to none.

If this is the case, why did I give it three hearts, you ask. Anyone who reads it would pick up mini-messages here and there. Especially, if you are the type who is obsessed with and constantly uses marginalia.

 

Thought-out Marginalia : (to be added soon)