The basics: The Post family are off to spend two weeks in Mallorca. Franny and Jim are celebrating thirty-five years of marriage, but it may be coming to an end. Jim has also lost his job. Their daughter Sylvia is off to Brown in the fall. Their son, Bobby, and his older girlfriend, Carmen, live in Miami. Franny's best friend, Charles, and his husband, Lawrence, also join them.
My thoughts: The Vacationers is one of those books that enchanted me from its opening pages. It's the perfect combination of so many factors, and reading it gave me that feeling that this book is one that will remain with me because it's so special. There's a lot of drama within its pages, but it never veers to the melodramatic, largely due to Straub's smart and witty writing. In some ways, the plot itself is rather ordinary, and perhaps that's why I was so impressed when this novel turned out to be something extraordinary, and a much richer reading experience than I anticipated.
I read The Vacationers compulsively. I loved living in the heads of each narrator. Some characters I more easily identified with, but as each took a turn telling the story from his or her point of view, none appeared stronger or weaker than the other. There are so many things I loved about The Vacationers, but they all circle back to the combination of smart, observant writing and realistically flawed, well-developed characters.
The verdict: The Vacationers is perfect summer reading for smart people. It offers an exotic location, family drama, humor and plenty of wise observations about contemporary life. In short: it's smart, funny and fun.
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Length: 301 pages
Publication date: May 29, 2014
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