"The open ending leaves the family drama aspect of the story unanswered as much as it does the political one, however there is a degree of hope as both sisters have moments of clarity."
Political ideologies, personal lives and family rifts crash together on the far from calm waters of this seaside trip. In ‘The Brexit House’ by Julia Winter, we cast our minds all the way back to 2019. I say this partly tongue-in-cheek, but it does feel to me like so much has happened since the divisiveness of the Brexit referendum and its aftermath it kind of felt like another world to take that half step back in time. In a family holiday home on the cliffs of Dover we witness liberal Cecily, her wealthy sister Victoria, her caught in the middle friend Diana, and their families on holiday during the lead up to the prorogation of parliament. Political ideologies, personal lives and family rifts crash together on the far from calm waters of this seaside trip. Firstly the characterisation in this novel is fantastic. We are first introduced to the story from Cecily’s perspective as she visits her beloved family home with a friend, before becoming increasingly insecure about the arrival of her better off sister. The first change of perspective made me pause (in the best way) as it became clear that Cecily’s viewpoint skews at times past the rose tinted glasses to almost delusion with her inability to let go of the past. Cecily’s viewpoint isn’t the only one open to us for such scrutiny and of course it would have been beneficial if the two sisters just sat down and had an honest conversation. However, much like the heated discussions around Brexit, it isn’t always easy to put yourself in another’s shoes and difficult conversations can be left unspoken. At the heart of the Brexit argument is the question of identity and place, a subject that can hit hard when challenged and the power of these emotions are demonstrated brilliantly from a multitude of different perspectives in ‘Brexit House’. Cecily’s moments of insomnia also allows her to read through the extensive family collection of books, giving her, and us, insight into British history and how the issues of the past resonate in the issues of today and how we talk about them. Victoria’s son Zac is another interesting character, a teenager in private education and with a hero worship of Brexiteers, I saw opportunities for his worldview to be broadened and also times where he remains unchallenged. I think this character and what he represents provides lots of scope for analysis and lively discussion - does he represent the futility of wanting our leadership to change, or should those brief opportunities for broadening his horizons be leapt upon like Cecily does. ‘Brexit House’ is a multifaceted story with lots of opportunities for you to draw your own conclusions. I also found it gave me a level of perspective to work through my own beliefs as well as consider other sides to the argument. The open ending leaves the family drama aspect of the story unanswered as much as it does the political one, however there is a degree of hope as both sisters have moments of clarity. All in all I found this a really interesting read.
Charlotte Walker, A LoveReading Ambassador
|Primary Genre||Indie Author Books|