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Ordinary people in uncommon situations
on April 18, 2013
"An Uncommon Family" is about just that - a six year-old girl who lost her mother in a car crash and still has nightmares about it, her aunt who survived a failed marriage and remains bitter and distant in her relationships with men, and an artist whose marriage ended in the tragic death of his wife. The story is about the intertwining of their lives from when Karla, the young girl, is six until her twelfth birthday. At the outset, she and Anna, her aunt and guardian, by chance, encounter Jonas, the artist, who offers to give Karla art lessons. From there, the relationships develop between Karla and Jonas, Karla and Anna, and Anna and Jonas in a steady, deliberate, and delicate way that I appreciated greatly.
Set primarily in Switzerland, the book has a nice local flavor that complements the story well and is interjected unobtrusively at various points as the plot moves forward. In terms of point of view, the story is seen through the eyes of the three main characters and, as such, the narrative is superb. This book is no lightweight by any means. The main themes of the story are trust, betrayal, honesty, loss, and love. Applicable in some degree to each of the three, the handling and development of these themes was top notch.
If you like stories of ordinary people thrown together into uncommon situations, I know you will enjoy this book as much as I did. I recommend it highly and look forward to reading Polkinhorn's next installment.