Saturday, February 20, 2016

The Kindness by Polly Samson

Julian had a stellar academic career ahead of him.  But he threw that all away once he met Julia.  It was an instantaneous connection and he couldn't imagine anything he'd ever want more.  They scrape by and things get better as time goes on.  Julian becomes an author of children's books and Julia becomes a landscape architecture.  They have a child, Mira, who is the center of their existence.  When Firdaws, Julian's ancestral home, comes on the market, they even find a way to purchase it and move there.

But paradise rarely lasts.  It all falls apart when Mira is diagnosed with a life-altering disease and it isn't clear whether she will even survive.  The two turn to anything that will help them through and do things that are unforgivable in a relationship.  They split and Julian removes all traces of Julia and Mira from Firdaws.  His family and friends rally around him to help him get through the breakup and the loss of all he holds dear.

Samson has written a book that slowly uncurls and reveals the dark secrets that tear families apart.  As the reader discovers each secret, it becomes clear how little communication Julia and Julian ever had and how the secrets have ruined any chance they ever had together.  Each secret is as surprising to the reader as to the people learning them for the first time.  Samson is an English author and not well known here in the States.  Those that read The Kindness will make sure that she becomes more well read as her books become available here.  This book is recommended for readers about family relationships and those who prefer literary fiction.

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