Author: Carol Anshaw
Published by: Atria Books on Oct. 1, 2019
Genres: General Fiction, Women's Fiction
Format: Paperback, ARC
Source: Simon & Schuster Canada
Book Rating: 7/10
The author of the “graceful and compassionate” (People) New York Times bestseller Carry the One presents a new and long-awaited novel exploring what happens when untested people are put to a hard test, and in its aftermath, find themselves in a newly uncertain world.
It’s the fall of 2016. Cate, a set designer in her early forties, lives and works in Chicago’s theater community. She has stayed too long at the fair and knows it’s time to get past her prolonged adolescence and stop taking handouts from her parents. She has a firm plan to get solvent and settled in a serious relationship. She has tentatively started something new even as she’s haunted by an old, going-nowhere affair. Her ex-husband, recently booted from his most recent marriage, is currently camped out in Cate’s spare bedroom, in thrall to online conspiracy theories, and she’s not sure how to help him. Her best friend Neale, a yoga instructor, lives nearby with her son and is Cate’s model for what serious adulthood looks like.
Only a few blocks away, but in a parallel universe we find Nathan and Irene—casual sociopaths, drug addicts, and small-time criminals. Their world and Cate’s intersect the day she comes into Neale’s kitchen to find these strangers assaulting her friend. Forced to take fast, spontaneous action, Cate does something she’s never even considered. She now also knows the violence she is capable of, as does everyone else in her life, and overnight, their world has changed. Anshaw’s flawed, sympathetic, and uncannily familiar characters grapple with their altered relationships and identities against the backdrop of the new Trump presidency and a country waking to a different understanding of itself. Eloquent, moving, and beautifully observed, Right after the Weather is the work of a master of exquisite prose and a wry and compassionate student of the human condition writing at the height of her considerable powers.
Slow burning, sobering, and forlorn!
Right after the Weather is an affecting, perceptive novel that takes us into the life of Cate, a middle-aged, lesbian, set designer whose life is riddled with disappointment and multiple, complex relationships that are strained and never fully satisfying.
The prose is edgy and raw. The characters are multilayered, frustrated, and dissatisfied. And the somber plot is a reflective tale with a side of violence that’s full of life, loss, infidelity, forbidden love, familial dynamics, friendship, assault, and the instability caused by the 2016 US election.
I have to admit this was a really hard one for me. There is no doubt that Anshaw can write and write beautifully about how hard, gritty, and even depressive life can truly be. And even though I am confident that some readers will absolutely love the tragic gloominess of Right after the Weather, unfortunately for me I couldn’t quite connect with the characters and the story was a little too dispiriting to enjoy it as much as I would have liked.
This novel is available now.
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Thank you to Simon & Schuster Canada for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.