This book of dark secrets opens with a blaze. On the eve of her daughter’s wedding, June Reid’s world is destroyed when her entire family – her daughter, her daughter’s fiancé, her ex-husband, and her boyfriend, Luke –all die in a house fire, with June the only survivor.
She drives away, stricken and alone, from her small Connecticut town to a beach on the Pacific Northwest, and in the turbulence of grief and gossip left in her wake we slowly make sense of the unimaginable. The novel is a gathering of voices, and each testimony has a new revelation about what led to the catastrophe – the wedding caterer who never got paid; the teenage pothead; the staff in the motel where June lives like a ghost; Luke’s mother, the town’s pariah – everyone touched by the tragedy finds themselves caught in the undertow, as their secret histories finally come to light.
Elegant and devastating, and one of the most accomplished first novels of the year, Did You Ever Have a Family is an absorbing, unforgettable story that reveals humanity at its worst and best, through loss and love, fracture and forgiveness. At the book’s heart is the idea of family – the ones we are born with and the ones we create.
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