Caroline Hulse, The Adults: A Novel (New York: Random House), 2018
I was looking for a light-hearted novel for travel and ran across a review of this book. I wouldn’t describe it as light-hearted, but it is an easy read. The scenario of the novel is a couple with a child, who are divorced and both connected with new partners, decide to go on a Christmas holiday with everyone - the two of them with their child and their current mates. The scenario sounds impossible and it is. The complex dynamics of the couples results in all kinds of chaos, from hurt feelings to hints of renewed passion to a breakup and even violence. The narrative story is interspersed with fictional notes of a crime investigation involving the characters. From the beginning, the investigation notes lead one to believe that the investigators aren’t getting the straight story, but it is a bit difficult to figure out who has done what until the narrative story gets to the point. The writing introduces just enough complexity to make the book engaging.
As a relaxing read the book is equally fun simply because the characters’ situations are nearly impossible. I don’t know people who would allow themselves to be put into such impossible situations. It isn’t a serious crime novel, either. Most laypersons know enough about investigations and the collection of physical evidence to recognize flaws in the techniques of the police in the novel. This, however, isn’t a problem for the reader because there is no attempt at surface realism. The reader is perfectly willing to suspend reality for the sake of a good story. It isn’t a great novel, but it is a fun story and worth a read for relaxation.