The Awkward Age

Riverhead. May 2017. 368p. ISBN 9780399576454. $27; ebk. ISBN 9780399576478. F
OrangeReviewStarFor five years, fortysomething Londoner Julia and her daughter, Gwen, 16, have made peace with their grief following the death of Daniel, beloved husband and father. Now, unexpectedly, Julia and James, a divorced American doctor working in England, fall madly in love, and James and 17-year-old son Nathan, move in with Julia and Gwen. At first, the adults adeptly manage the animosity between Gwen and Nathan, both resentful of this disruption to the familiar. But when Gwen and Nathan become romantically and carelessly entangled, all hell breaks loose. Everyone—James's flamboyant ex-wife, Julia's former in-laws—has an opinion about the best course of action. The attitudes of both Gwen, a talented artist, and Nathan, a brilliant student on track for medical school, threaten not only to derail their academic futures but their parents' life together. Love and romance in all their difficult, volatile combinations have no limits in this multigenerational dissection of the eternal conundrum of life: what brings us together can tear us apart.
VERDICT Prize-winning author Segal (The Innocents) offers no easy answers in this compassionate novel that surprises until the very end. [See Prepub Alert, 11/27/16.]
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