the past

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For when you don't like the person your sibling or close friend has married
In The Past, a beautifully perceptive novel by the British writer Tessa Hadley, three middle-aged sisters and their brother have a final reunion at the country house they're about to sell. Their brother dismays them by bringing his new wife, Pilar. Hadley writes, "They were all affected by Pilar's new presence among them—it had the effect of making their talk at the table seem false, as if they were performing their family life for her scrutiny." But as Pilar and one sister fight to hold on to the family house, Hadley shows the surprising ways that siblings can be stranger than newcomers.