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This Strange Eventful History

A Novel

by Claire Messud

This Strange Eventful History by Claire Messud X
This Strange Eventful History by Claire Messud
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  • Published May 2024
    448 pages
    Genre: Historical Fiction

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There are currently 21 member reviews
for This Strange Eventful History
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  • Margaret K. (Seekonk, MA)
    This Strange Eventful History
    This novel, while loosely based on her own family history, is fiction, but through her beautiful, simple writing Claire Messud conveys the universality of family life, indeed of all of human experience. I was drawn to read this book because of its initial placement in Algeria and the tortured history of France with this North African country but her masterfully developed characters travel the world in the course of their lives and the generations unfold in such touching ways -- interdependent but unique in their joys and sorrows. An excellent, very readable book. Perfect for book clubs -- it has many different ways to understand/interpret the story and its rich family, which one comes to love as one revisits one's own life. A masterpiece!
  • Lynn D. (Kingston, NY)
    This Strange Eventful History
    I loved this book! This novel tells the story of 3 generations of a French-Algerian family displaced in the 1940's and 1950's by events of history and the effects this has on the family as they make temporary homes in different parts of the world. The author writes beautifully and with great compassion for these characters as they experience love, success, disappointments, and losses in their lives. The book explores the idea of 'home', and 'family' and loyalty, as central to how we know who we are. Highly recommend and lots for book clubs to discuss!
  • Eileen C. (New York, NY)
    Evocative and poignant
    In this beautifully written multigenerational saga--covering the years from 1940 to 2010--Claire Messud uses multiple viewpoints to explore how various social and political forces shape the lives of a family--based on her own family--and how the stories we tell ourselves influence how we interpret the world. It is a novel full of empathy, but it is also a heartbreaking novel about how isolated we are from each other, and how little we really know about how the world feels to others, including those we love the most in the world. It is not a quick read, but it does an extraordinary job of illuminating the importance of family and connection.
  • Deborah W. (Boynton Beach, FL)
    Around the World in Three Generations
    In a novel that spans three generations, the Cassar family lands in Algeria, France, Buenos Aires, the United States, and Canada (and that's a shortened list). So where is "home?" What country is yours? In the end, the characters learn that "home was a matter not of geography but family" and "family was all that ultimately mattered." And what a family it is. We are drawn to all of them as they move around the world and through the decades starting with World War II, the young couple who are grandparents by the end, their two children who we watch grow up, and then the two granddaughters. This beautifully written book immerses us in vivid descriptions of numerous locations, examples of how we're all affected by the times we live in, and finely attuned analyses of these characters' inner lives; we're sorry to see it end. Readers will find much to connect to and enjoy in this tale.
  • Julie Z. (Oak Park, IL)
    This Strange Eventful History
    How I loved being immersed in the world to which Claire Messud introduces us in This Strange Eventful History! This novel is a generational family saga, set across many countries, and told through the lens of Lucienne and Gaston Cassar and their children. The couple is French-Algerian, and after WW II, spend the beginning of the novel moving across the globe searching for a homeland. They share a very special love. Their children, and then grandchildren, have much to live up to in their own relationships, it seeming close to impossible to recreate what their parents have.
    Messud writes with elegance and finesse, making the reader want to linger in these pages. This semi-autobiographical story of her own family is the most fully realized of the books I have read of hers - not to diminish her wonderful back-list. Strongly recommended.
  • Dorothy H. (Folsom, CA)
    3 Generation Family Story
    Saga begins before WW@ in Algeria. Family journeys to South America, Canada and US. Along the way we learn of their happy and sad times in the face of history. One can relate to older generation trying to influence the younger ones. Author describes emotions of the family at their different ages along the way to the passing of 2 generations.
    Will be a great book club read.
  • Shirley T. (Comfort, TX)
    This Strange Eventful History
    It was such a pleasure to read this excellent history of a French family with their travels across the world in the background of both WW2 and the end of Algeria as a French Colony, then moving on to the twenty first century. The novel is a study in the passing of time and how the changes affect the characters in this family with the differences in living in such diverse locations as Argentina and Australia.

    Each of the members of the family react uniquely as do the people to whom they are married. For some such as Gaston and his son , Francois, the memories of Algeria linger on. For others the new world is more important. The family members are shown to really care about one another, traveling to visit or gathering for life events.

    This is a novel which will be read, enjoyed and reread as an epic of that period in time.
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