Tigers in Red Weather by Liza Klaussmann

Tigers in Red Weather by
Hardcover, 356 pages
Tigers in Red Weather
Rating: 9/10


Tigers in Red Weather follows two cousins, Nick and Helena, who have been waiting for their men to come back after World War II so they could begin their 'real' lives. The book switches perspective between the two women as well as some of their family members, as each recounts life at the rich (and booze-soaked) estates of Tiger House in Martha's Vineyard. Each character is trying to decide how to be happy or if they can settle for what life has given them when all of their lives are shaken up by the discovery of the body of a murdered maid. Desires and suspicions whirl around the characters, largely driven by the formidable and self-centred Nick, whose main wish in life is to not be 'ordinary.'

Reason for Reading

This was one of the summer's buzz books.

Why you should read this book

The story begins simply and in a straightforward manner with Nick, disillusioned after the war, hoping for glamour and affection from her husband but looking for attention in all the wrong places. But Klaussmann slowly starts to cut in bits and pieces of the truth, to blend in bits of other people's views until everything comes together as a shocking whole. It's a pebble that becomes a boulder by the time it hits the bottom of the mountain. It's hard to say much without spoiling the fun, but the self-centred Nick provides the perfect backdrop to the story - she's a woman so consumed by not being ordinary that she can't look around her to see how much drama she has helped to create. All of the characters are great as we get to really know them - even the murder is less an opportunity for a whodunnit-type mystery than a psychological one. An intense look at secrets, well-lubricated with alcohol, makes this an engrossing read.

Why you should avoid this book

I'm really not feeling The Great Gatsby comparisons (hello, Nick and Daisy) with this one, and I don't think it does it any particular favours - not because it's at all a bad book, but just because that sets things up for disappointment.. For a novel full of drunks at a big party, it would be nice to see more witty lines, especially as we cycle through multiple reincarnations of the same events. Sometimes the characters are too busy navel-gazing to focus on interacting.

Opening Paragraph

'I'm not sure if it's a blessing or a curse,' Helena said.
'At least it's something different,' Nick said. 'No more goddamn ration books. No more taking the bus everywhere. Hughes said he's bought a Buick. Hallelujah.'

Fabulous quotes

'Being pretty isn't really all that important,' her mother said. 'Men like it when you have it.'
She smiled at Daisy when she imparted this piece of information. An inclusive smile that made Daisy keep quiet. But privately, Daisy wondered who else had it and where they might have gotten it from. She thought about the movie stars she liked, but her mother didn't really look like Audrey Hepburn or Natalie Wood, she wasn't even pretty, exactly, so maybe that wasn't really it. But then Daisy didn't look like her mother, either. She was blonde and blue-eyed, like her father.
She was quiet as he navigated the car out of Vineyard Haven.
'How's Daisy?' Hughes finally asked.
'How do you think she is?' Nick snapped. She stubbed out her cigarette. 'I'm sorry. It's been an awful day. Actually, she seems less shaken up than I am, frankly.'
'I'm sorry. It must have been terrible for you.'
'A dead body, Hughes. And not just some peaceful great-aunt, either. The poor thing was strangled and god knows what else.'

Also by

Tigers in Red Weather is Klaussmann's first novel.

Fun Tidbit

Klaussmann is the great-great-great granddaughter of Herman Melville, author of Moby Dick.

Would I read more by ?

I look forward to Klaussmann's second book.

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