Crack Open the Rioja! Another Starred Review


It's so nice when people are nice. Here's another lovely starred review, this time from the folks at Booklist. I raise a glass of Rioja to you, my friends!

[STARRED] The Vacationers.

Straub, Emma (Author)

May 2014. 304 p. Riverhead, hardcover, $26.95. (9781594631573).


Straub’s second novel (Laura Lamont’s Life in Pictures, 2012) is contained in the two-week vacation of the extended Post family: Franny and Jim, married over 30 years; their teen daughter, Sylvia; twentysomething son Bobby, his girlfriend, Carmen, in tow; and Franny’s best friend, Charles, and his husband, Lawrence. Trading one grand island for another, the mainly Manhattanites arrive in Mallorca with, of course, a few secrets tucked in their literal baggage—and so begin the games that occur above the plane of the Scrabble board. Jim has suddenly left his beloved magazine job, and not everyone knows the circumstances; Sylvia’s excitement to get to Brown might have more to do with leaving home; Carmen wishes Bobby would ask his parents for that favor already; and it’s more than work emails keeping Lawrence searching for a WiFi signal. Straub masters a constantly changing flow of perspectives as readers wonder who will forgive and be forgiven in this sun-soaked, remote paradise. Spongy and dear, sharply observed and funny, Straub’s domestic-drama-goes-abroad is a delightful study of the complexities of family and love, and the many distractions from both.

— Annie Bostrom