The Survivors, a review by Tanya

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The Survivors
Alex Schulman

240 pages
Published Oct 5, 2021 by Doubleday Books

Amazon | Goodreads

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About the Book:

In the vein of The Dinner and Atonement, an instant international sensation sold in over 30 countries, in which three brothers confront the shattering childhood event that changed the course of their lives.

In the wake their mother’s death, three estranged brothers return to the lakeside cottage where, over two decades before, an unspeakable accident forever altered their family. There is Nils, the oldest, who couldn’t escape his suffocating home soon enough, and Pierre, the youngest, easily bullied and quick to lash out. And then there is Benjamin, always the family’s nerve center, perpetually on the look-out for triggers and trap doors in a volatile home where the children were left to fend for themselves, competing for their father’s favor and their mother’s elusive love.

But as the years have unfolded, Benjamin has grown increasingly untethered from reality, frozen in place while life carries on around him. And between the brothers a dangerous current now vibrates. What really happened that summer day when everything was blown to pieces?

In a thrillingly fast-paced narrative, The Survivors mixes the emotional acuity of Edward St Aubyn, the literary verve of Ian McEwan, and the heart of Shuggie Bain. By brilliantly dissecting a mind unravelling in the wake of tragedy, Alex Schulman reveals the ways in which our deepest loyalties leave us open to the greatest betrayals.

My Review:
Perhaps I should have stopped after I read this was in the vein of Atonement.  I wasn’t a fan of that movie and that should have been my sign that this might not be the book for me.

Listed as a thriller, I was expecting something very different than what I read.  Yes, there was a mystery and yes there was a big reveal, but more importantly, this is a slow-burn of a story that is dark, depressing and will require patience.

Not sure why so many books I’ve been reading lately have alcoholic parents as part of the character’s history but I need to take a break from that for a little while.

I didn’t connect with any of the characters but I think (I’m not sure though) the author’s intention is that you connect with the story and not necessarily the characters.

This is definitely a book to read when you are looking for something that shows the dark and dreary of human nature and family relationships.  If Atonement is something you enjoyed, then definitely pick this one up!

Thank you to #Doubleday and #NetGalley for making this book available for review. All opinions expressed are my own.

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