Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Publisher: Hutchinson 2005
Source: Oxfam Bookshop
First Sentence: After he was arrested, my father became famous.
Favourite Quote: “biggest roadblocks you encounter in life are the ones you construct for yourself.”
Review Quote: "State of the Union has the feel of a handgun primed for Russian roulette. The climax, when past and future collide, is explosive" (The Times)
Main Characters: Hannah Buchan
My Opinion: Douglas Kennedy is not an author I am very familiar with, as although I have read two of his books previously it was a long time ago and I really do not remember much about his writing. I must have picked this up because I recalled his name, there are two more titles of his still sitting on my bookshelf waiting to be read.
State of the Union is very readable, at first I was doubtful I was going to enjoy it but after the first three chapters I was gripped and despite its size I finished it in a couple of days! As a man the author has got inside the mind of his female protagonist Hannah, very successfully. Set in the period I grew up in also made it interesting as despite being set in the states one was able to relate to what was happening in the world at that time both politically and socially.
Précis Courtesy of Goodreads:
Hannah Buchan leads an orderly life in a small town in Maine — a schoolteacher, married to a doctor, with two grown up children. However, her past conceals a dark secret. Thirty years ago she had a brief, dangerous fling with Tobias Judson, a high profile student activist, which she had reconciled to that internal, off-limits attic room marked “Ancient History.” But when Tobias suddenly pops up out of nowhere with a book about his radical years, her life goes into free-fall. And before she knows it, Hannah discovers that a long-ago transgression is never really forgotten.
Set amid two wildly contrasting periods of recent American life — the militant 60s and 70s, and the new-found conservatism of today — State of the Union is a remarkable portrait of one woman’s attempts to find her own way in the shifting political currents of her time. But it is also an intriguing portrait of the complexities of a long marriage, the ongoing guilt of parenthood, the perpetual tension between familial responsibility and personal freedom, and the divisive debate between liberal and conservative values that so engulfs the United States today.
Douglas Kennedy was born in Manhattan on January 1st 1955. He studied at Bowdoin College, Maine and Trinity College, Dublin, returning to Dublin in 1977 with just a trench coat, backpack and $300. He co-founded a theatre company and sold his first play, Shakespeare on Five Dollars a Day, to Radio 4 in 1980. In 1988 he moved to London and published a travel book, Beyond the Pyramids. His debut novel The Dead Heart was published in 1994.
He was married to Grace Patricia Carley they have two children Max and Amelia but I believe are now divorced.
Apparently dividing his time between London, Paris, Berlin, Montreal, Maine and New York he must spend a lot of time travelling. He writes in French as well as English as can be seen if you visit his Official Website and Facebook
Wikipedia Profile Authors Official Website Douglas Kennedy - Twitter
Lovereading - Author Profile Facebook - Douglas Kennedy France Amazon Page