Tuesday, 8 September 2009

State of the Union - Douglas Kennedy

State of the Union (2005) is a novel by Douglas Kennedy. Starting off in the 1970s, it is written in the first person and focuses around Hannah Buchan, a school teacher and doctor's wife living in small-town Maine and leading a very ordinary and safe life. Enter a mysterious radical, a political colleague of her father's, and a brief affair happens. Jump forward to the present day and the events she thought were long-buried come back to haunt her in a very public way, fuelled by the current dramas facing her family.

As a newcomer to Kennedy's work, I enjoyed the writing style. Errors aside, his vocabulary and literary knowledge is wide, something which he repeatedly reminds his readers of. This is the only novel I have ever read which uses the word phantasmagorical and continues as though nothing has happened.

Although, at times, the drama is laid on with a trowel, and one wonders how many more issues can possibly be crammed into each character, this novel is definitely a page-turner. Tension builds to almost overwhelming levels. I was, therefore, surprised at how rapidly everything was resolved in the final chapter; the "happily ever after" ending arrived very quickly, almost begging for another chapter to be written and make things more believable .

I'm certainly keen to check out Kennedy's other novels. (The cover boasts that he is the author of a number of novels and non-fiction works, including The Pursuit of Happiness - not to be confused with The Pursuit of Happyness (2006), like I was.)

1 comment:

~JarieLyn~ said...

Sounds interesting. I've never read his work before. Mostly, when I read, it's usually something non-fiction. Occasionally, I will sit down and relax with a good suspense thriller or a light romance.