Monday 3 June 2019

#BlogTour A Modern Family by Helga Flatland

Today it's my pleasure to take part in the BlogTour A Modern Family by Helga Flatland. Translation by Rosie Hedger. It's literary fiction with a contemporary note, and I say note because the story of family is timeless.
About the Author
When Liv, Ellen and HÃ¥kon, 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…

Follow @HelgaFlatland on Twitter, on GoodreadsBuy A Modern Family

About the book
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.

It's certainly the kind of story that makes you sit back and reflect upon your own family and experiences with said family. Outsiders are usually completely unaware of the dynamics within each family pod, because they are busy with their own family and know you only as an individual.

Everyone has a story. Every family has a story. Sometimes it's driven by complacency, tragedy, disappointment and more often than not just driven by the fact it's the norm and everyone does it. We all have to navigate the often complex dynamics of familial relationships. In that sense this book is a story for all of us, because somewhere in there will be an element we can all relate to, even if it's only a teeny bit.

I have to be honest, I found Liv extremely self-obsessed and selfish. If she spent less time trying to control the narrative of her everyone else's life then perhaps hers would be more gratifying. She takes no time to enjoy the view. It's all about obsessing and controlling the words, actions and choices of others. So when her parents decide to get a divorce her balance is set off-kilter and she is thrown into an existential crisis.

Blame is thrown around like a lead balloon. Leaving damage and wreckage in its place. She exposes her husband and children to her inner anger and a level of toxicity that leads to more fractures in her relationships.

The three siblings see everything through their own frame of reference and fragmented memories, which means what happened for one is not what happened for another. Suddenly every event, word and reaction has to be questioned. Was there ever truth or sincerity in the relationship of the two people who formed them into the individuals they are today?

I enjoyed the way Flatland described the idiosyncrasies of the siblings as they related to their status and hierarchy in the family, be it an imagined, a statistically proven or one achieved by assertion. The low levels of jealousy, suspicion and yet also an undeniable strong bond of love. The way the equilibrium of the trio becomes unstable, due to a presumption of predictive fact being debunked, thereby forcing them all to re-evaluate themselves, their lives and that of those around them.

It's literary fiction with a contemporary note, and I say note because the story of family is timeless. This one just happens to take place in the 21st century. Kudos to Flatland for the intriguing read, a fictional journey based on commonplace emotions and relationship structures. To be completely frank I'm glad no one has attempted to portray my own family and their convoluted dynamics. Good god, the horror.

Buy A Modern Flatland at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Orenda Books; pub date 13 Jun. 2019. Buy at Amazon com.

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