"My name is Constance Schuyler Klein. The story of my life begins the day I married an Englishman called Sidney Klein and said goodbye forever to Ravenswood and Daddy and all that went before."
So begins Patrick McGrath's new novel, Constance. Of course, we should mention that the quotation marks in the above quote are ours. Because McGrath refuses to use any. Ever. Throughout the entire book. Instead, he utilizes the -em dash. We only mention this because it had a slightly pretentious feel that, on the whole, did nothing to improve the novel.
The story features, as is so fashionable these days, a dysfunctional family. Told in alternating views between Constance ("She had no moral pole star") and her much older husband Sydney, it's difficult to tell which of the two is more
At it's heart, the story tries to be a mystery as DARK FAMILY SECRETS are slowly revealed.
"Two days later came the doctor's shattering revelation, and that's when everything properly went to hell."Are they shattering revelations? Perhaps for the characters, not so much for the readers who are busy reading yet another instance of Constance's inexcusable and childish behavior and her husband's resultant agony. Ultimately, nothing excuses Constance and Sidney's behavior and the reader becomes bored with their predictable antics early on. The ending, of course, resolves the so-called mysteries and tragedies lurking in Constance's family, but there is no resolution for Constance or her beleaguered husband.
Clearly, we were unimpressed. Our verdict? Skip it entirely or, if you must, grab it from the library.
Title: Constance: A Novel
Author: Patrick McGrath
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
Source: Our local library
Rating: 3 Stars, at best.