If every book I've read in recent weeks seems to have been about dying, then every other one seems to have been about couples in a fix.
So love and death still the common fictional denominators.
Then again plonk it all in Upper Manhattan and let me in those New York doors and I'm up and away, and I certainly was swept up by this one.
Are all fictional New York families dysfunctional ones?
Suddenly I can't think of a normal happy one can you?
Why does New York offer the perfect backdrop for domestic disquiet?
Adam and Cynthia Morey are actually the bees knees. The couple with the mostest even before their marriage which proves to be a winning combination, their love for each other knows no bounds and I really was predicting all that to go horribly off the rails etc etc.
Well they do have a few moments along the way, though only rich ones because Adam's confident flair for hedge funds and sniffing out the winners makes him and his company an absolute fortune, somehow Adam and Cynthia really are made for each other.
Brinkmanship, risk-taking and recklessness Adam's speciality it would seem with a bit of insider dealing to boot and all at heaven knows whose expense, and with that Jonathan Dee spells out not only the addictive nature of money-making but the cynicism, fatuousness and despair that can go with it, and no more so than when mediated through the lives of the children.
Because verily there are rich kids, April and Jonas who I wanted to hate (in fact I wanted to hate them all) but just couldn't quite bring myself to. Jonathan Dee does invest them all with the odd endearing characteristic here and there, for all their faults little glimmers of compassion and caring are there and my sympathies were oddly and consistently exercised in their direction.
An astronomical amount of money comes with its own Gucci baggage, privilege is not all it's cracked up to be and when high flyer Cynthia, capable and assertive, settles down to motherhood whilst at the top of her game, it's not long before she's on the losing side. Decimated, deskilled and defeated by her role, and prey to an insidious creeping depression I was constantly wondering where this might all lead.
Silly me, this is rich New York, it's into therapy of course.
April and Jonas emerge into their late teens as opposites, perhaps the polarised examples of what unrestricted wealth can do to children, either debauched, drug-fuelled licentiousness and off the rails completely, or a macrobiotic diet and trying to save the world. Oddly disenfranchised for all their wealth, detached from reality and hardly equipped to deal with the life as the rest of us know it, the bumpy ride is inevitable for both children from within the confines of a family who now have so much money they have to employ people to help them get rid of it via a charitable foundation.
When someone needs hospital care and no room is available it crosses Cynthia's mind that she might as well buy the place.
April, who finds poor people scary, nips into town and buys Jonas a painting by Picasso as a thank you for a weekend stay...as you do.
It's beyond unreal for most of us but all very real for Family Morey and as a result, if you decide to read this one, prepare to read a book that consistently subverted this reader's expectations whilst revealing both the decadence and potential rottenness at the core of unregulated wealth. But also expect to come away with an understanding of how impossible it can also be to actually be that rich...how the average man on the street really does like to see
'the high brought low...the bubble popped...would love nothing better than for you to turn out to be hypocrites and scumbags instead of the generous caring family you are...'
Expect also a few bizarre ( to me anyway) plots twists along the way with an ending that subverted all expectations, but which I think was all ultimately supposed to demonstrate that of course rich people have feelings too, and in the end also have to learn how to deal with all the dross that the rest of us do.
There's no exemption from some of the life and very gritty death stuff no matter how much money you may have.
In fact yes I'll confess I was the average woman on the street wanting them all to fall flat on their very perfectly straight teeth whilst conjuring up all manner of unkindnesses to befall them as I started to read, but only because the Calor Gas bill had just arrived.
In the end it all made this person happy to be average, confirmation that truthfully, and much as we might dream of it, let's hope we don't win the lottery (well if we ever bought a ticket that is) and my thanks to Jonathan Dee for revealing that lesser known fact about myself to me.