The gold foil sticker on the cover caught my eye as it proclaims this book to be a National Book Award winner for fiction in 2002. That award means a panel of judges read this book, along with many others published that year, and determined it to be award worthy. Both covers and an inside page carry the usual accolades you’d expect from an award winning book.
Three Junes is a book about three generations of a Scottish family, but oh is it subtle. Nothing hits the reader over the head as this family confronts the joys and longings, fulfillments and betrayals of love in all its guises. Still the points are made, the feelings — good and bad — are conveyed while the reader is pulled along. The family dynamic is gently prodded with all its tradition, regrets, losses and passions.
This book is not plot driven — that’s when you know you’re in the hands of a writer who is truly a master word alchemist — as it goes after the big issues and is full of memorable characters. I enjoyed reading it even though I had to pay attention and be fully engaged; that’s okay and good mental exercise. The locations are Greece, Scotland, Manhattan and Long Island; not a bad one in the bunch.
The award judges wrote that Julia Glass “weaves gold into straw into gold again in this novel that proves to us that neither ancient privileges nor modern passions absolve us from the regrets, losses, comforts and ineffable joys of family love. Perhaps not since E.M. Forster have we been led down the ladder of the generations with such simple majesty.”
— Lynn Lofton, firstname.lastname@example.org
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