Verdict: 4 Stars
Equal parts mystery and broken family saga with elements of deep dark secrets, this title is hard to categorize into just one genre.
Married couple Siri and Jon head back to her childhood home for the summer so Jon can presumably finish his long-awaited follow up novel. The family begins to unravel in many overlapping places, beginning with Siri’s mom, Jenny, who finally takes a drink after twenty years of sobriety. But even more dirty laundry gets aired involving the tragic death of Siri’s younger brother as a toddler, long-ago affairs come to light, and a young au pair’s body is found, leaving everyone suspicious of the role all of the others may have played in it.
In typical Ullmann fashion, this story is about as dark as it gets. The characters are intriguing, but I couldn’t find a single thing to like about any of them, even the children. By the end of the book, I was hoping for their final comeuppance just to rid the planet of a few of them.
Despite the depressing characters and story line, it still pulled me in as I had to find out what happens to resolve the underlying mystery. Ullmann’s writing style is gripping, even if she carries some of her famous father’s dark plot elements. The translation by Barbara Haveland was flawless and really speaks to the hard work that goes into translating full-length novels.
The Cold Song is available now.