THE EXILES: A Novel ~Allison Lynn
To be in a state of EXILE one must be in a state or period of forced absence from one’s country or home according to Webster’s Dictionary. It was interesting to be reading THE EXILES while our news is full of a young man, Ed Snowden, who is currently experiencing an exile on the global stage.
Nate, a middle range employee on Wall Street, and his girlfriend Emily are moving from the wealthy lifestyle in New York City to a position in Rhode Island and a house that they have purchased and believe they will be able to afford. This is a young couple in financial exile and in shock about losing their dreams and friends. They load up their Jeep to the brim with air mattresses, clothing, their financial papers and baby arriving in their new city on a holiday weekend in time to pick up their house keys. When they exit the reality office with their key, baby, stroller, diaper bag, and cell phones they discover that the Jeep has been stolen.
The police are helpful but the “shocks” keep rolling in as they discover they have very little cash, no credit cards or bank money available and maybe no motel room available on this holiday weekend in October. With an officer’s assistance and because Nate had stayed at one of the fancier hotels when he was job hunting; they were able to stay in a suite, raid the mini bar, and use their bit of cash for diapers and baby food. The first steps towards finding home and ending THE EXILE experience.
Whenever we are in shock, humans need to search their history to find relief, to open the channels for recovery towards a future. Much of Lynn’s story is the back story of childhoods of Nate and Emily. What were they hoping for, what are they giving up and how their future hinges on caring for baby Trevor. Thus begins a secondary story about Nate’s father George, a fairly successful international, Chicago architect, who has distanced himself from his family because buildings are just more important to him and what they will say about him in his future. George is also on the road heading to his father’s home in Rhode Island. George has chosen his EXILE.
The author actually understands the finances of the practice of architecture, and I truly enjoyed reading about how the money flows in and out; that there are times of feast and the corresponding famine during the rhythms of any given year or season. There was little mention of the CFO’s role in an architect’s life, I think it could have added more dimension to Nate’s character and his review of his mother’s experience. I was happy I could read between the lines, interpret and maybe the reader does not need to make this connection, though it weighted my analysis into the plus column.
The novel is also about Huntington’s disease and how we all fear the loss of control or having our mind controlled. How we do not want to pass any of our weaknesses on to our children and how those fears can propel our responsibilities and our outlook. Too many secrets, which of course improved the telling of the story and the reader turning the pages; the writer is skilled at her craft.
I found myself on the third page hoping that this story would have a happy ending and as in the way of great storytellers I was satisfied with the last pages and wishing the characters well. I enjoyed reading THE EXILES.
I received an uncorrected proof copy from TLC online book tours and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishers. I appreciated the good read and am pleased to share that there will be a giveaway copy of this book offered for a comment. Yep! A Free BOOK.