Nick and her cousin Helena grew up in a world of sun bleached boat docks, tennis whites, and midnight gin parties at Tiger House, the family home on Martha's Vineyard. In the wake of the Second World War, the two women are on the cusp of starting their "real lives": Helena is off to Hollywood and a new marriage to the charismatic Avery Lewis, while Nick is heading for a reunion with her own husband, Hughes Derringer, about to return from the war. The world seems rife with possibility.
The gilt soon begins to crack. Avery is not the man he seems to be, and Hughes has grown distant, his inner light curtained over. On the brink of the 1960s, Nick and Helena - with their children Daisy and Ed - try to recapture that earlier sense of possibility. But then Daisy and Ed discover something truly awful, and the dark thread of the family's history slowly starts to unravel. The secrets and lies that each member thought long buried begin to surface.
Brilliantly told with the tempestuous elegance of F. Scott Fitzgerald and the suspenseful dark longing of Patricia Highsmith, Tigers in Red Weather is an almost unbearably compelling story of liars, lust, and secrets. It heralds the arrival of a fierce literary talent.
©2012 Liza Klaussmann (P)2012 Hachette
This is a dark novel about longing - longing for a better, "more exciting" life, (however that is defined), longing for release from pain, and longing to possess the object of one's affections. Hence the line "Tigers in red weather" from the Wallace Stevens poem, the subject of drunken sailors' thoughts - either wanting what they can't have, or summoning the courage and energy to get it.
What separates this novel from others on a crowded shelf of beach books and chic fic is not only Klaussmann's finely nuanced and detailed character development, but also the deep sense of dread and ominous foreboding that flows through the book.The story is told through the various voices of several characters, and a series of events in one summer is seen through a different lens by several main players who are gathered at the Tiger House, the family "cottage" on Martha's Vineyard.
The author does an excellent job of communicating darkness camouflaged by sunny circumstances, and individual stories have mystery because they are only partially fleshed out, with unanswered questions lurking in the mind of each storyteller. There are some seriously unpleasant, even tragic, moments but they are not so much "told" with melodrama but rather, are painted with a highly dialed-in visual sensibility and with a fine artist's brush. In fact, in one sense the novel can be viewed as a series of set designs art-directed by Klaussmann.
I think it's accurate to compare the underlying mood and tone color to what comes across in the work of F. Scott Fitzgerald, that feeling that underlying all the "yellow cocktail music" is a rather sad and nasty streak of "red weather".
From a production aspect, the book is fantastic, interlaced with with all the right music from the period, the post-World War II 1940's to the late 1960's. The narrator strikes all the right accents, specifically that Hollywood semi-Britspeak from the 1950's, socially "appropriate", formal and distant.
I'm giving this one all the stars, and hoping it makes it to the big screen.
The narrator was captivating! It made the book. I don't know that I would have enjoyed reading the book as much as I did listening.
Her voices for each character set each apart and gave them a clear idea in my mind of how they would look.
summer reads this year seem to be all about classical living with sinister undertones, the social niceties we all go through and what we are capable of when we stop being nice, and tigers in red weather is no different. it goes back to a time just at the end of world war two, when women are overjoyed at the end of rationing and ready to receive home husbands who they've been without since the beginning of their marriages.
this is a wonderful book to listen to, rather than read, because each character in the novel takes turns narrating. events are recounted one way, and then another, and like a detective we as the listener are able to gather clues and put together the actual events from everyone's differing viewpoints.
tigers in red weather has an indulgent and enjoyable tone, amidst all the dinner parties and high hopes of the late fourties, and it is addicting to hear each characters' secrets revealed and see who will tell their story next. katherine kellgren does a great job handling all of the different characters voices.
I was in the mood for a change from my normal suspense/thrillers and I am SO glad I stepped out of that to experience this read! The narrator is beyond phenomenal and really gave so much more to the story line with the different accents and voices she used. I loved the breakdown of the book and how each crack of the storylyine was revealed and then later filled only to open another. The author really does well developing the characters and transforming them into the hot messes they never dreamed they'd become. I absolutely LOVED it! Such a solid read!
What a great name (and theme) for a novel -- the W. Stevens poem wherein "the houses are haunted by white nightgowns. None are green, or purple with green rings, or yellow...or blue...only here and there an old sailor, drunk and asleep in his boots, catches tigers in red weather." Facing the disillusion of the dreams and yearnings of our youth--the grand plans we made and better things we hoped for, then growing up and finding only plain old ordinary "white nightgowns." Poor little rich girls Nick and Helena come of age.
This novel feels almost like an Eugene O'Neill or Tennessee Williams play, heavy with the claustrophobia of generational vacation homes and extended families, the strain of carrying on rituals and pretending everything is on track while the elephant-in-the-room-tension becomes like a stranglehold. A fairly entertaining plot is tucked in, and some characters drawn well enough to hold your interest; some cliche, some predictability, but used well and in the spirit of the whole novel. Good summer beach read if you don't want something cute and happy-go-lucky; definitely not a feel good book, but I thought it was wicked fun. (Weird Cousin Ed is super creepy.) Kellgren ususally raises my hackles with her tendency to exclaim (!) everything and misinterpret, but she actually did a fairly good job with this one. Good writing by Klaussmann that shows some real staying power rather than a one season, one hit wonder.
It's among the top ten for sure, this book kept me listening. I just had to know what was going to happen next. I loved hearing each characters side of an incident.
She was good but not enough change to her voice for the different characters. Sometimes I didn't realize there was a different person talking.
I am listening to it for the second time. Very different from what I have read before
I was thinking more of the old classics
The last chapter, could not wait to see what was going to happen.
I wanted it to continue to see what was going to happen to Ed and Daisy
All of them
I hope they make the movie !!!
I may finish this one, or I may not. If not for the reference to F. Scott Fitzgerald in the book summary or the lovely cover art, I wouldn't have taken a chance on this story. Having listened to about 45 minutes of it, I don't think the Fitzgerald comparison is earned. It's been a while since I've read Fitzgerald, but what I remember was his ability to write vivid descriptions of the world his characters lived in. Klaussmann has plenty of descriptions, but mainly it's clothing, perfume, and drinks... This sounds like a weak complaint, but when Nick's outfit and hair is described, followed by a bit of a sex scene or thoughts about sex, it feels like just another romance novel. Not my favorite genre.
This is the second performance I've heard by Katherine Kellgren. She is most definitely not to my taste - no nuance, no subtlety, just exclamation points galore. Her delivery seems well-suited to the book, but I mistook the book for something more serious than it is.
The Assassination of Abraham Lincoln
Everything is over the top, and somehow that makes mediocre story and writing seem downright bad.
I am not sure I'd keep any of them. They were all stereotypical and one-dimensional.
One of the few books I've ever regretted spending a credit on.
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