Cover Image: At the Table

At the Table

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Member Reviews

A slow-burner of a story, but one that is beautifully written with a terrific cover and some elegant turns of phrase. Linda and Gerry Maguire (his name, and their son being called Jamie Maguire, occasionally make for a confusing reading experience)! are splitting up after over thirty years of marriage. Their children, hard-working, hard-drinking Nicole, and people-pleaser Jamie, are more destabilised by this than they thought they would be. Both are traumatised by the experience of being adult children of divorce - which can be a lonely and strange thing, particularly when none of their peer group are in the same boat. Jamie is about to get married to Lucy, but feels like something is wrong and resorts to extreme measures of diet and exercise to make him feel in control of his life. However, this is really Nicole's story, as she tries to reconnect with her ex while boozing her way through London - you hope and pray that she will have the strength to turn her life around. Not a perfect book, but a promising one.
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I think based on the brilliant cover I was expecting a bit more fire and pace in this novel… but actually it was qu’inepte a calm and quiet character driven novel.
Gerry and Linda’s marriage has fallen apart after 30+ years and two grown up children.  Those children, Nicole and Jamie, have their own life issues and trying to juggle their own emotional dramas as well as the break up of their family home is more than either of them need. 
Nicole, using alcohol as a crutch, is desperately seeking stability in her life although doesn’t really know it yet. Dependable Jamie realises that his university girlfriend of 10 years might not be what he was looking for after all….
Family dramas in middle class England, done with great skill and writing.
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I really enjoyed this book.

Thanks to Claire Powell's masterful writing, I felt I could really understand each character's unique pain. I would have liked to empathise with them a little more. 

I would definitely read more from this author and would love to see this as a TV series!
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This was such a clever and interesting book that i think was unlike anything I have read. It was well written with good character development and setting. One of the things that made this book so interesting and clever was using the settings that were all focused upon eating and drinking such as restaurants, family dinners around the kitchen table, bars, cafes etc and used that to explore family dynamics and I loved it. 
I couldnt put it down it was so clever.
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"At the Table" by Claire Powell follows 4 family members (parents and the two adult children) through four seasons of the year, and with each chapter the readers get to experience a different person's perspective on their personal lives, but also their lives and struggles within the family system.

What I found interesting and very clever, is using consumption of food or drinks as an important, sometimes a lot changing, element of the plot. We follow Linda, Gerry, Nicole and Jamie as they socialise, argue, fall apart and seek connections around kitchen tables, at the restaurants, bars and functions. It is such a great angle that helped me to immerse in the world created by Claire Powell, who shows a unique talent to turn a quite ordinary story into something truly engaging.

I read "At the Table" with great pleasure.
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This was a really neat and relatable family novel. This would make a really good tv series.
Premise
To Nicole and Jamie Maguire, their parents seem the ideal couple - a suburban double act, happily married for more than thirty years. So when Linda and Gerry announce that they've decided to separate, the news sends shockwaves through the siblings' lives, forcing them to confront their own expectations and desires.

Hardworking - and hard-drinking - Nicole pursues the ex she unceremoniously dumped six years ago, while people-pleasing Jamie fears he's sleepwalking into a marriage he doesn't actually want. But as the siblings grapple with the pressures of thirtysomething life, their parents struggle to protect the fragile façade of their own relationship, and the secrets they've both been keeping.
I enjoyed getting to know the perfectly imperfect Maguire family and their relatable ness it was very funny, heartfelt, and I enjoyed this book very much.
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