Sometimes I read reviews before I purchase books. When I receive an ARC for review I wait until I’ve finished my review to read how the book was received critically. With The Vacationers (Riverhead, 304 pages, $26.95) by Emma Straub, I read one review prior to purchase. Margo Rabb’s review for The New York Times said the following:
When I turned the last page, I felt as I often do when a vacation is over: grateful for the trip and mourning its end.
Isn’t that the most delicious sentiment? As soon as I read the last line in Rabb’s review I ordered a copy of The Vacationers and eagerly awaited the beginning of my vacation via book. So, was Rabb right? Did I feel like I was ending a vacation and sad it was over when I finished? Yes! Straub’s tale of a the Post family and close family friends coming together for a two week vacation in Spain on the island of Majorca contains utterly luminous descriptions of Majorica while simultaneously being a study of the complexity and fragile state of the Post family.
Trouble In Paradise
Franny and Jim Post planned the getaway to Majorica prior to Jim losing his job at Gallant, a men’s magazine. Jim lost his job because of a liaison with a young co-worker. Job loss puts a strain on a marriage. However, unemployment due to adultery put Jim and Franny’s marriage in jeopardy and Franny decides to use her vacation time for serious reflection as to whether or not their marriage will continue.
Jim and Franny’s children, Sylvia, eighteen and Bobby twenty-eight are along for the vacation in addition to Bobby’s girlfriend Carmen, Charles, Franny’s best friend and Laurence, Charles’s husband. Sylvia and Charles both know about Jim’s extramarital affair, but aren’t supposed to tell Bobby. Laurence and Charles hear from an adoption agency that they are on the list for a baby that has just been born and are under tension as they both internally examine their relationship while waiting for further news from the agency. The occupants of the beautiful vacation home in Majorica have more issues than Vogue and Straub brings the flaws of the Post family to life for readers while showcasing the sorrow and joy a relationship can experience.
I was left hoping for a sequel when The Vacationers ended. Like any great read, I didn’t want it to end. This book is an excellent beach read, but even if you don’t find yourself on the beach this summer, give it a try! It’s almost as good as really going on an island getaway.
My Favorite Passage From The Vacationers:
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