Hello and happy Tuesday bookish friends! Today I’m delighted to share my review of Love Orange by Natasha Randall ♥️
An extraordinary debut novel by Natasha Randall, exposing the seam of secrets within an American family, from beneath the plastic surfaces of their new ‘smart’ home. Love Orange charts the gentle absurdities of their lives, and the devastating consequences of casual choices.
While Hank struggles with his lack of professional success, his wife Jenny, feeling stuck and beset by an urge to do good, becomes ensnared in a dangerous correspondence with a prison inmate called John. Letter by letter, John pinches Jenny awake from the “marshmallow numbness” of her life. The children, meanwhile, unwittingly disturb the foundations of their home life with forays into the dark net and strange geological experiments.
Jenny’s bid for freedom takes a sour turn when she becomes the go-between for John and his wife, and develops an unnatural obsession for the orange glue that seals his letters…
Love Orange throws open the blinds of American life, showing a family facing up to the modern age, from the ascendancy of technology, the predicaments of masculinity, the pathologising of children, the epidemic of opioid addiction and the tyranny of the WhatsApp Gods. The first novel by the acclaimed translator is a comic cocktail, an exuberant skewering of contemporary anxieties and prejudices.
Love Orange has a cast of characters that really do drive this story; and there is one in particular that I REALLY loved to hate! Hank, the head of the Tinkley family is an uptight, controlling misogynist, BUT his scenes are so brilliant that I just could not get enough of him! Jenny, his wife, is also fascinating – her peculiar behaviour and increasingly strange mannerisms make for some hilarious reading; I just could not tear myself away!
There are a number of important themes and aspects running through this book, the first being that the Tinkleys live in a “smart house”, something which affects them all to a varying degree, and really made me stop and think about the control of technology on our lives. The lack of communication between the members of the family adds to their dysfunctional aura and brings into sharp focus their somewhat irrational thoughts on gender and descendancy.
Randall’s clean and fresh prose made this a quick and enjoyable read and really highlighted the dark humour within.
With a fiercely compelling narrative, Love Orange is a veritable soap opera of a novel and I truly felt like a fly on the wall; listening in on the Tinkley’s, utterly paralysed by how their lives unravelled before me!
Love Orange is out in hardcover and you can buy it here Thank you again Quercus and Riverrun for my finished copy plus the invitation to the buddyread.
Hope you all have a lovely day!
Until next time!