Archive for the ‘realities of adulthood’ Tag

Family Ties That Bind and Blind   Leave a comment

THE LAST ROMANTICS

The Last Romantics begins in 2079 when Fiona Skinner, a poet and climate awareness advocate, has finished giving a talk and opens the floor for questions. At 102, Fiona is taken aback when asked about the inspiration for one of her best-known poems. Her memory takes readers to 1981, the year her father died.

Fiona is the youngest of the four Skinner siblings: Renee, Joe and Caroline. Joe, the boy wonder, is idolized by the entire family.

Their father dies when Fiona is 4. His death affects each family member differently, but all recall their mother being emotionally absent. Fiona is too young to remember much about her father.  The siblings are close, protective and blind to each other’s faults, especially Joe’s until they can no longer be ignored.

Tara Conklin has created an epic in the sense the story spans nearly a century. The siblings relationships with each other, their mother, friends and love interests (some fleeting, others less so) are a combination of airing dirty laundry as much as highlights in a family holiday newsletter, but is more enjoyable to read.

The gripping narrative moves from childhood’s halcyon days to the heartbreak of unrealized dreams. Even at its most depressing moments (and, spoiler alert, there are several) the Skinner kids are ones you wish you knew. As with most families, their lives are full of joy and tragedy, humor and tears. Fiona’s account of her youth, like most memories is cloudy at times, but beautifully vivid at others.

The Last Romantics

Four+ Bookmarks

William Morrow, 2019

352 pages