“The photograph in its oval frames lies with the old albums in the years-long darkness of an old wooden trunk in the basement. When Jennifer lifts the curved and creaking lid, the face of an old woman under glass takes the light like a yellowed, all-seeing eye. You could tell me, Jennifer says to the eye.”
These opening lines from Katherine Govier’s “Random Descent” launch the reader into a retrospective of Jennifer Beecham’s ancestors. Jennifer has traveled to California, after pulling the plug on her marriage to a philandering husband, to spend time with her grandparents Chas and Constance and learn the history of her family.
“Random Descent” is a challenging read as it shifts back and forth between three families across several generations. It can be difficult to follow the shifts and keep track of where you are in time and which family story you are currently in – in part because given names are often passed down from parent to child. For this reason, there is a detailed family tree at the front of the book. You’ll need to refer back to it regularly to stay with the flow.
Despite the meandering plot line, “Random Descent” is an engaging read as it weaves together the threads of the three families – exploring both the external forces and the internal emotional drivers that shape the individual characters and how each character influences the fate of his or her family and the generations that follow.
- Paperback: 1 pages
- Publisher: Penguin Canada (APB) (Feb. 16 1987)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0140093079
- ISBN-13: 978-0140093070
- Product Dimensions: 24.6 x 1.5 x 14.5 cm
- Shipping Weight: 209 g
- Customer Reviews: 1 customer rating