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Publishers WeeklyMcLaren's touching if too busy newest weaves together a complex set of family narratives. Phil and Anna's 30-year marriage is crumbling: Anna sleeps in the yard, and Phil busies himself with inane projects. Their oldest daughter, Olive, gets knocked up by her immature boyfriend and quits her bank job to move in with her grandmother. Son Forrest left home at 14, consumed with guilt from a tragic mistake, and could be dead for all Phil and Anna know, though youngest daughter Jade knows where Forrest is, but keeps that, and many other things, secret. As the family drifts farther apart, it will take tango lessons, bagpipes and enormous effort to bring its members back together. While the book starts slow, it picks up steam quickly, though McLaren tries to stuff too much into the narrative, switching character perspectives at an annoying clip. That aside, McLaren manages to present a rich cast dealing gracefully with spirituality and mortality, a not inconsiderable feat considering the material is ripe for kitsch.
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