When Liv, Ellen and Håkon, along with their partners and children, arrive in Rome to celebrate their father’s seventieth birthday, a quiet earthquake occurs: their parents have decided to divorce. Shocked and disbelieving, the siblings try to come to terms with their parents’ decision as it echoes through the homes they have built for themselves, and forces them to reconstruct the shared narrative of their childhood and family history. A bittersweet novel of regret, relationships and rare psychological insights, A Modern Family encourages us to look at the people closest to us a little more carefully, and ultimately reveals that it’s never too late for change…
I found this study of a family quietly splintering very intriguing. Spilt into sections narrated by each of the adult siblings, you get different emotions and reactions, often not quite how they are seen by their siblings.
Liv is deeply affected by her parents’ decision and finds herself unable to move forward, desperate to keep everything as it was.
Ellen has a high powered job but nurses her own quiet desperation and longing, clinging to a relationship in freefall.
Hakon appears the least affected, his beliefs in monogamy and love supported by his parents’ divorce, yet he too finds himself somewhat lost.
I would have liked a tiny section from each of the parents, just to see what was beneath as they’re filtered through their childrens’ perceptions.
I found it quietly compelling and surprised myself by how drawn to it I was.
Helga Flatland is already one of Norway’s most awarded and widely read authors. Born in Telemark, Norway, in 1984, she made her literary debut in 2010 with the novel Stay If You Can, Leave If You Must, for which she was awarded the Tarjei Vesaas’ First Book Prize. She has written four novels and a children’s book and has won several other literary awards. Her fifth novel, A Modern Family, was published to wide acclaim in Norway in August 2017, and was a number-one bestseller. The rights have subsequently been sold across Europe and the novel has sold more than 100,000 copies.
*I was kindly gifted a copy of the book in exchange for participating in the blog tour. All thoughts and opinions remain my own.