THE VACATIONERS by Emma Straub

From the Back Cover

For the Posts, a two-week trip to the Balearic island of Mallorca with their extended family and friends is a celebration: Franny and Jim are observing their thirty-fifth wedding anniversary, and their daughter, Sylvia, has graduated from high school. The sunlit island, its mountains and beaches, its tapas and tennis courts, also promise an escape from the tensions simmering at home in Manhattan. But all does not go according to plan: over the course of the vacation, secrets come to light, old and new humiliations are experienced, childhood rivalries resurface, and ancient wounds are exacerbated.

My Thoughts

THE VACATIONERS by Emma Straub is a book I’d file under “Perfect Summer Read.” I absolutely whipped through this one, completely absorbed in the characters, which was a welcome surprise given how difficult it’s been for me to concentrate on reading lately. Set in Mallorca, THE VACATIONERS follows a small group of family and friends, each dealing with their own existential crises, on a two-week vacation where they’ll discover more about themselves and each other than they thought possible.

“Life would be so much more interesting if one could ask all the questions one wanted to and expect honest answers.”

I’ve seen a lot of people put this book down for its unlikable characters, which I guess I can understand, but at the same time, I didn’t find the characters all too unlikable! They’re certainly not perfect and they haven’t made the best choices, but they’re human and they make mistakes just like the rest of us. Emma Straub shines in creating real, complex people and depicting all of the highs and lows in relationships… and this novel is certainly full of them. Husband-wife, mother-daughter, fiancés, friends, Straub paints a portrait of them all with her simple, gorgeous prose.

“So much of being a good friend was knowing when to keep your mouth shut.”

I adore novels that follow multiple perspectives over a period of time, so THE VACATIONERS was an automatic hit for me! It’s a true page-turner, and with its glamorous locale, it feels like an indulgent read, something to savor. While reading THE VACATIONERS, I felt like I was on my own little vacation! I’d recommend this one if you’re looking for a guilty-pleasure read that never sacrifices on prosody or wit.

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