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The Arrivals: A Novel Hardcover – May 25, 2011
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From Publishers Weekly
An empty nest fills back up with alarming speed in Moore's promising debut. Five years have passed since the last of their kids have left home, and Ginny and William Owens have settled into a comfortable rhythm at home in Burlington, Vt., that's unexpectedly disrupted. Their exhausted and defeated daughter, Lillian, shows up with three-year-old Olivia, three-month-old Philip, and without her husband. Within days, Lillian's brother, Stephen, and his pregnant wife, Jane, arrive for an unannounced visit that will turn into a summer-long stay. Daughter Rachel, still working in New York, is teetering on the edge of financial and emotional disaster, and will also end up in Burlington in short order. Moore finds a crisp narrative in the morass of an overpacked household, and she keeps the proceedings moving with an assurance and outlook reminiscent of Laurie Colwin, evoking emotional universals with the simplest of observations, as in "the peace you feel when you are awake in a house where children are sleeping." (May)
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The Arrivals is told from multiple points of view, always a tricky maneuver. But Moore handles the shifts in perspective with ease, nimbly evoking the reader's sympathy for each family member. --Sara Vilkomerson, Entertainment Weekly
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Ginny and William raised three children – two daughters and a son – two of whom are now married (one has two children, one has a baby on the way, and one is unmarried). During the summer one day in their New England home (the home their children were raised in), the daughter with two children (a three-year-old and newborn baby) arrives home – sans husband – with no explanation, and plops in her old room (not saying how long she intends to stay). Soon after, the son and his very pregnant – Type-A, financial industry -- wife pop up from New York City for a quick weekend. The wife is rushed to the local hospital after an episode demanding complete bed rest for several weeks, so she ends up in her husband’s old room for the duration of her pregnancy. The third, a New York-resident daughter, having issues with her work and a recently-soured romance, so she decides to chuck it all and go home – only to find she has to share her former room with her three-year-old niece!
Thus, empty-nest solitude becomes crowded and life is turned upside down for Ginny and William and their adult children. Thinking their child-rearing, caring days were over, they are again steeped in the daily lives of their children, and much more. This upheaval in their recently calm lives, exposes revelations – for many levels of their relationships: the parents (as a couple) themselves, their grown children, grandchildren, spouses, etc. It’s a summer of discovery for all, and a stepping stone to the rest of their lives.
I won't say more -- as I don't want to give away the story too much, but, as I said earlier, it explores some interesting issues about relationships between adults, their adult children and their spouses and children. Well worth the read. I look forward to reading something else by this author.
Ginny and William Owen live a quiet life in Burlington, Vermont. Their three adult children have been long out of the nest and from all accounts, lead happy, successful lives. Within a matter of weeks, this illusion is shattered as, one by one, the children appear at the door.
Lillian and her two young children are the first arrivals. Having discovered that her husband had a one-night stand, Lillian hurriedly packs up the children and leaves her home. Too embarrassed or ashamed to be truthful, she tells Ginny and William that they need a vacation without Tom, who is overwhelmed with work. No problem, thinks Ginny, as she sets them up in two guestrooms. Olivia, the three-year-old, is the apple of her grandparents' eyes. I loved Olivia! She had me laughing at her hilarious clothes and questions. Phillip is a baby who needs constant attention.
Everything at Casa Owens is relatively calm when son Stephen and his pregnant, high-powered businesswoman wife, Jane, arrive for a short visit. A tiny problem, thinks Ginny, as she settles them in. The Owens do not know that their son will take full-time care of the baby. Jane rankles Ginny and William by tethering herself to her Blackberry.
Finally arrives Rachel, who is getting over a bad breakup and is broke. Big problem, thinks Ginny, because there is no room. She improvises, and everyone has a place to sleep.
The story is full of realistic family dramas. For a while, it is a novelty for the Owens to have all their children under their roof, but as time passes with no end in sight, Ginny's tidy house becomes her idea of a pigsty. Unending laundry, shopping, cooking and best efforts at cleaning wore me out!
For anyone who enjoys well-written family stories, this is a book for you. I enjoyed it immensely.