The Family Tabor is one of those slice-of-life novels that follows a family at a pivotal moment in time.
Much in the same vein as The Nest, Modern Lovers, and The People We Hate at the Wedding, The Family Tabor follows a family during a time of change. Harry and Roma, the patriarch and matriarch are in their sixties, still very much in love, and anticipating their three adult children’s visit.
Through the course of the story, each family member discovers something about him or herself. Why do I feel so restless? Do I want a baby, even though I have no partner? Which career path should I take? Am I responsible for my past misdoings? Do I stay with a partner who has changed the fiber of our relationship?
That final question, Simon’s storyline, is the one that’s most compelling to me. What do you do if your long-time partner decides to fundamentally change the terms of your relationship? Ideally, people go into a partnership with a certain set of shared core values and agreements. How to raise the kids. Whether to spank or not. How to set up the bank accounts. Religious beliefs and practices. Dealbreakers. If one of the partners changes one or more of those core values without consulting the other or taking their feelings into account, can the relationship survive?
Change is inevitable.
People evolve. But ideally, they evolve together. It makes for a very compelling story when Simon’s evolution takes him in a different direction.
Parts of the story are a bit tedious. It’s difficult to feel sympathy for Harry’s struggle or to want to dive into his story. Although the ending is heart-clenching, Harry seems slightly whiny and excuse-ridden through much of the story.
But it’s a vibrant, interesting book. These slice-of-life stories ask us to stand still and peek in at a family’s inner workings. Sometimes we’re forced to spend hundreds of pages with deeply unpleasant people in a yarn that never spins anywhere.
This is not the case. It’s wonderful to spend time with each member of The Family Tabor. Even forgetful Harry.
The Family Tabor
Published July 2018