Brevity is the soul of wit. Matthew Weiner‘s debut novel, HEATHER, THE TOTALITY proves it.
Spare, sparse prose that has the shock and shatter of a shared and shining certitude, HEATHER, THE TOTALITY is a coruscating, thin ice skating observation of the modern rink of domestic life.
Late life knot tiers, Mark and Karen have their one and only child, Heather, in their early forties. For all intents and purposes, these three are wholly family, but certainly not a holy one.
“Mark knew instinctively that his daughter was best served by having him be her father and not her chum or confidant”. Karen’s instincts do not serve her as such, especially as Heather’s maturation kicks in with all its surly hurts.
“Finally, one night, after heather had been forced to cancel a sleepover because it was snowing, she appeared in the doorway of Karen’s bedroom and said, ‘ I know you don’t want me to have friends because you don’t have any and you’re afraid I’ll abandon you,’ and then walked away. Heather’s empathy had matured with the rest of her and was now incisive to the point of pain”.
So, “Karen hoped that finding a confidante would be possible now that the ladies were all equally humbled be their rebellious teens, sexless marriages, food obsessions and real estate woes.”
Heather bides her time, playing the social and domestic game from her perspective – ‘..knowing it would be a catastrophic betrayal if the world discovered the Breakstone family wasn’t perfect.’
In 138 pages, the length of most contemporary film scripts, Matthew Weiner gives us a complete picture of the family as it is as well as a quite detailed back story.
But wait, there’s more.
Cantilevered into his compelling read is another character whose connection with the family is arbitrary but abhorent.
‘Bobby had no concept of time so things were either interesting or boring and when it came to people, either threatening or arousing.’
Matthew Weiner is possibly most famous for being the creator of the television series. Mad Men. HEATHER, THE TOTALITY is no less addictive, and its compulsive style triggers the compulsion for a binge read. Nuggets of gold in this glittering and glistening narrative
HEATHER, THE TOTALITY by Matthew Weiner is published in hardback with stylish plastic wraparound by Canongate.