- "War and Peace" by Leo Tolstoy and
- "Runaway Heiress-Book Six (Billionaire Bachelors)" by Melody Anne.
... an appropriate location for a story that does not rise to the level of Tolstoy nor sink to the basin with Melody Anne.
"Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way," wrote Leo Tolstoy in his classic novel, "Anna Karenina".
But what of unhappy readers? Does a disappointed reader experience similar or unique frustration at the loss of precious, sun lit hours?
"The Red House" contains the story of two semi-related families briefly united under one roof. Why is it stories such as this tend to sound alike? Didn't Tolstory say happy families are alike, not unhappy families? Why does every unhappy fictional family unit host unfaithful husbands, mentally deranged wives, confused little boys and teenagers grappling with homosexuality?
In "The Red House" an estranged brother and sister merge family units for a week in the country, following the death of their inept, elder mother. The reunion is meant to rekindle fires that were never lit.
Haddon breaks up his tedious story line with list poems meant to dazzle. List poems are a beginning writer's forte; graduating beyond the elementary level requires intention and careful editing-- a feat Haddon does not achieve.
The most fascinating and deeply envisioned moment in this novel occurs as the physician (the brother) sprains his ankle and struggles to survive a frigid rainstorm. The thoughts and feelings passing through Richard's consciousness as he struggles to wend his way along an exposed ridge are both original and compelling.
Perhaps one profound moment per novel recaptures a handful of dissipating sunlight.