Cover Image: At the Table

At the Table

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Member Reviews

Thanks to NetGalley for the opportunity to read and review this book. A well written narrative around the nuances of families and the dramas within, this is a good character driven read.
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Superb. Just loved this book - the writing is outstanding and shines out above the standard 'messy woman losing my way running around London getting drunk' genre. I was surprised that I was most engaged by the Jamie and Lucy storyline: he's the MC's brother and about to commit to a marriage where they are already bored and not bothering with niceties. Let alone sex. But every member of the Maguire family feels real and you feel their pain as things splinter apart. Claire Powell is a formidable talent.
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This is the debut novel from Claire Powell and what an assured and excellently written debut it is. 

Gerry and Linda Maguire are married and have two thirty something children. Nicole is hard working, functional alcoholic, who never shies from giving her opinion, while Jamie is reticent and prone to people pleasing. When Linda and Gerry announce their separation after decades of marriage, Nicole and Jamie are stunned. We follow each of the equally flawed characters over the course of the year after the announcement and see how it affects them all. 

This is a beautifully written, well paced story of a family, trying their best to cope after a life changing event. The details of the reason for the separation are drip fed to us, as all four lives continue against the backdrop of Brexit (one of reasons people suspect as the cause of the break up) and the run up to Jamie's wedding. I felt for and was frustrated by all of them, which is a testament to how good the writing is. It's full of dry humour and wit, as well as astute psychological observations of what it is to be human. Spoiler: we're a mess. 

I'm already looking forward to see what Powell does next. 

Thanks to the author Claire Powell, the publisher @littlebrownbookgroup_uk for the digital ARC via @netgalley in exchange for an honest review. At the Table is available to buy now.
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A wonderfully complex debut by Claire Powell. A look into a dysfunctional family dynamic when parents of (already grown up) Nicole and Jamie leave them reeling. Each chapter looks into the experiences of each member of the family and it showed their unique mindset in this unconventional situation. 

Nicole is a work-hard, play-hard executive in a tech company which is detrimental to her health and wellbeing and she has trouble letting go of her ex. Jamie is in the midst of wedding planning while going through some feelings of depression and the beginning feelings of an emotional affair with his coworker, which his fiancée notices and creates additional distance within their relationship. Linda is trying to keep up with all of her friends and neighbours and pretend like nothing has changed. Gerry is coming to terms with moving out, facing the consequences of splitting up the family and dealing with guilt of concealing an affair, while, at the same time, being excited about starting a new life with his high school sweetheart. 

I liked how each person’s perspective was explored in depth and you can really see all the different interactions, like how Linda and Nicole see their interactions vs Gerry or Jamie, who are neutral parties to their conversations. It was also interesting to see how each of them dealt with the fallout of the divorce, as Linda and Gerry are trying to move on with their lives, whereas Nicole is lamenting her unsuccessful relationship with an ex from several years ago whereas Jamie is getting cold feet about spending the rest of his life with his longterm girlfriend.

This was a perfect read to dip in and out of as I read it on public transport and it was a great piece of literary fiction that I highly recommend everyone read! 

This review has been made possible thanks to NetGalley and Little, Brown Book Group UK for providing me with an Advance Reader's Copy in exchange for an honest review.
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I’d describe this book as realistic fiction. The author has done an amazing job at creating imaginary characters and situations that depict the world and society. The characters focus on themes of growing up and confronting personal and social problems. This is a first for me by the author and one I enjoyed and would read more of their work. The book cover is eye-catching and appealing and would spark my interest if in a bookshop. Thank you very much to the author, publisher and Netgalley for this ARC.
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You know when you see a book and you know that you HAVE to read it? Well this one definitely caught my attention, just look at that cover. I have to say - it didn’t disappoint. Claire Powell’s writing has a warmth to it, a gentle kindness. A family in crisis, four equally flawed adults, you find yourself rooting for them all.

Hardworking, hard-drinking Nicole and people-pleasing Jamie are already grappling with the every day pressures of thirty something. When their parents Linda & Gerry announce that they have decided to separate, we witness a shift. Nothing cataclysmic, this is a story of the every day, of the subtleties of familial communication (or often lack of it) of the things that we assume, the things that we hold close.
A year of lunches, dinners and drinks we become acquainted with the Maguires, Powell’s witty, smartly observed prose gives us a sense of them all.

The complexities of any family dynamic are varied and they are many; a large scoop of fraught mother/daughter, a spattering of father hero-worship, a dollop of sibling fuelled inadequacy and four human beings who love each other. Claire tackles it all with subtlety and tenderness.

For fans of Marian Keyes (her high praise can be found on the cover) this is an absolute must.

The one book that I managed to finish on holiday! It was delightful.

Thank you so much to @littlebrownbookgroup_uk for my gifted copy and to @clairemegpowell for giving me a holiday read that I couldn’t put down. Thanks also to netgalley
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This book tells the story of the Maguire family through vignettes of their social interactions.  Gerry and Linda are parents to Nicole and Jamie, but all is not well in their marriage.  This is a beautifully written book, perceptive and empathetic.  The reader comes to care about each member of the family and I felt bereft when I finished the book and had to leave their company.  An excellent read which I cannot recommend highly enough.
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Reading 'At the Table' it's hard to believe this is Claire Powell's first novel, the writing is so assured. This novel follows a family in the aftermath of the parents announcing their separation at the first table (all the subsequent chapters take place at tables, in restaurants, bars, homes). The adult children are in their thirties and form the the main focus. The characterisation is excellent, and as a reader I felt attached and engaged with their stories, rooting for them to get through their troubles. Thoroughly recommended.
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Set over the course of one year, “At The Table” tells the story of the Maguire family, parents Gerry and Linda and their adult children Nicole and Jamie. When Gerry and Linda announce their separation after over thirty years of marriage the family are plunged into turmoil. Nicole immediately takes her father’s side and refuses to speak to Linda, while her hard-partying and drinking start to catch up with her. Jamie starts to question everything about himself, especially his upcoming marriage. 

This is definitely about family drama in all it’s messiness. Powell creates vivid and shockingly real characters, with each suffering their own set of problems. Each chapter is told from a different member of the family’s point of view, and helps to create these wonderful fleshed out characters. Although I did come to love each of the characters, my heart went out to Jamie while reading this. To watch a character to begin to suffer with depression and anxiety is tough, but when no one in the book seems to notice his mental health deteriorating is incredible hard. I felt that his storyline was very well written and I would read a book through his POV in a heartbeat. Though there are some funny moments in the book, the emotional and mental issues the characters go through far outweighs anything humorous. This book portrays its characters experiencing their toughest moments and the emotional depth of these characters is truly stunning.
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This is a decent, easy read about family and relationships.

Gerry and Linda Maguire break the news of their separation to their grown up children over a family meal and the impact is different on each family member and the storyline takes you on each person's journey. I found it a tad tedious at times, but, overall, it's well written and interesting.

A solid 3* Good Read for me.

Thanks to NetGalley and the publishers for the opportunity to preview.
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Interesting read about family dynamics among parents and their grown up children. I found the story to be quite slow at parts and I wasn’t really gripped. Each character was irritating at parts throughout although I understand each was dealing with their own personal issues as well as their separating parents.
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At the Table is set in London in 2018 and tells the story of the Maguire family over the course of a year. At a Mothers Day Lunch,  siblings Nicole and Jamie are shocked to learn that their parents are separating after over 30 years of marriage. For the siblings, their parents Linda and Gerry  seemed happy and content and this news stuns them and makes them question their own lives. 
The book examines the family dynamic over a year over various lunches , drinks and meals out.  Nicole works and parties harder than ever and Jamie is preparing to marry his long term partner while they try to understand that all they knew may not be as they thought. 

While there is nothing specifically original about this plot or setting, what makes this novel shine, is the writing. Each character, even the minor ones are so well captured and drawn out. I got this family immediately and was completely invested in what would happen to them.. Secrets are uncovered and  the entire family  must question and face their individual malaise, disillusionment and struggle, 

This was a really compelling read. I really enjoyed the writing and will look forward to whatever Claire Powell writes next.
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5 stars, loved this! 
I've read a few books about 20/30 something single Londoners wading through life and this was the first time I feel like an author has nailed it. Funny, honest, relatable and endearing, At the Table centres around the dynamics of the Maguire family, mum Linda, dad Gerry and siblings Nicole and Jamie - each go on their own journey over the course of the book. A really fun, compelling read that's easy to demolish in one sitting.
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The Maguire parents and their son and daughter seem to have a predictable future. But in this very well-written, observant and frequently entertaining novel, Claire Powell tugs at the loose threads to develop what the librarian of my youth would have recommended as, “a very good story,” though she would have had reservations about Nicole’s booze and bed behaviour. 

Plot, characters and dialogue were all handled with skill and it’s hard to believe it’s a first novel.
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At the Table is a drama of relationships within a family, set around various meal times.  A clever concept to cover a situation when, after a long marriage, parents Linda and Gerry Maguire tell their adult children, Nicole and Jamie, that they are divorcing.

The knock-on effect on each family member is well constructed and important themes like depression, alcoholism etc. are sensitively covered. Set over a year, 2018, each chapter is told from the POV of one family member where worries and old conflicts are aired over a meal. These scenes, where people are interrupted by their mobile phones, for example, are realistic and I'm sure many readers will recognise themselves or people they know. I felt I was eavesdropping on someone sitting at the next table in a cafe hearing their story, which was a good thing.

I am sure this debut will be most successful. Many thanks to NetGalley and Little, Brown Book Group for the opportunity to read and review At the Table.
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I really enjoyed this clever and sharp book. Each of the Maguire family was portrayed so beautifully- both their flaws and good points. It was a really accurate reflection of most families - what happens on the surface and then underneath… I was totally invested in each of the main characters by the end.
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Compelling story about the fallout of the Maguire family when the parents of 2 adult children, Nicole and Jamie announce their separation after 30 years.  I really enjoyed this novel, with a good storyline that keeps a good pace throughout so I stayed easily engaged with it. Strong and steady character development and really connected with each member of the family.   Thanks to NetGalley, the author and publisher for the advance copy of this book.
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Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with this title in exchange for an honest review.

At the Table introduces us to the very well-fleshed-out members of the Maguire family through a series of dinners, drinks, lunches and coffee dates. It all starts when the parents announce their separation to their adult children, which unravels their lives as the thing that they believed in the most suddenly collapses. 

I definitely enjoyed the concept of getting to know the family and their troubles through meals and I marveled at Powell's witty observational prose. However, I did find that the plot lagged around the middle and the novel would have probably benefited from being a bit shorter. Even so, I think this is the perfect novel for people that are interested in the nitty-gritty of familial relationships and how these evolve over time.
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My favourite trope in fiction is the disaster dinner party, so I knew I’d enjoy this—the whole book is structured around mealtime gatherings—but I surprised by how much I loved this story of four members of a family all falling apart in different ways. Quier and wry and devastating, like Tessa Hadley writing Sally Rooney.
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I really enjoyed this witty, clever read. I love books about family dynamics - were the drama is all within the relationships- and this is exactly that. Told through a year of family meals, this chronicles how Jamie and his sister Nicole deal with the shock announcement of their parents divorce. A fantastic funny read.
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