One fine spring day, the day her daughter Lolly is marrying Will, June loses everyone close to her in one unfortunate incident. Lolly, Will, Adam (Lolly’s father and June;s ex-husband) and Luke (June’s much younger live-in boyfriend) all perish in a horrific explosion and fire at June’s home, while she helplessly looks on.
Each chapter of the book is narrated by different characters, some close to the tragedy, like Luke’s mother and June herself, even the mysterious 15-year-old Silas, while others have only a tangential connection. Covering nearly nine months since the explosion, slowly (oh so s l o w l y) we learn more and more about who the dead were and survivors are, and finally what actually did happen.
My problem with the book is that I just couldn’t care about many of the people and I found a few of them downright awful. I felt that the tragedy was a cheap manipulation, that I was given no reason to particularly care or root for some of these characters. Yes, I get it that we humans make mistakes and don’t always act in our own or our loved one’s best interest. I do see how tenuous our footing is here and how one chance decision (or non-decision) can have ever expanding effects on our lives and the world at large. And clearly Mr. Clegg can write artfully, but in the end I was just plodding along and gritting my teeth until I could finally turn the last page.