Monday, May 31, 2010

75. Three Junes by Julia Glass

After reading my reaction post about Ursula, Under, my friend Jeff recommended that I also read Three Junes, swearing up and down that I would love it. I added it to my list and then forgot about it completely for a few months. I checked it out of the library and began reading it after I finished The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. There was really no book jacket copy to speak of (see below), so I really didn't know what I was getting into.

A luminous first novel, set in Greece, Scotland, Greenwich Village, and Long Island, that traces the members of a Scottish family as they confront the joys and longings, fulfillments and betrayals of love in all its guises.

Summary lifted from the book jacket. (See what I mean?)

I read the first two chapters and it took forever to figure out what was going on. I had a really hard time getting into it. The book is in three sections, each devoted the month of June in different years. The whole of the book is about Fenno, the oldest son in a Scottish family. The first June is told from his father's point of view and lays the groundwork, setting the stage for the rest of the book. This first part was basically easing into the book and getting my bearings. The second June, told from Fenno's point of view, I really loved. I got used to and really enjoyed the cross-cutting between the past and the present, and how the past informs the present. I was a little confused when the third June began, because it was told from the point of view of someone on the periphery of Fenno's world who briefly meets him. I couldn't wrap my mind around why we should see what happens to Fenno in such a roundabout way.

Ultimately, this story was more about the journey than the destination. It wasn't so much about what happens, as the characters, how they relate to each other, and what they learn from each other. It was good, but I don't think I was in the right mood for it. After The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, I was all about what is going to happen and the action but that really wasn't the point of Three Junes. It was like the right book at the wrong time. I do recommend you read this one, it's very well written, but maybe read a longer plot summary first.


Ryan said...

I started to read this but couldn't get into it. I understand what you mean about the right book at the wrong time. It was well written and somewhat intriguing, but yet, not enough to keep my short attention span.

Magnolia said...

I'm glad that "right book, wrong time" made sense. It took me forever to think of a way to express that. :)