The Promise of Happiness
For her father, Juliet's convicti...more
Winner of The Hawthornden Prize for Literature, The Promise of Happiness is not Justin Cartwright's first brush with literary acclaim. He's been short listed five times for the Whitbread Novel Award (which he won for Leading the Cheers), once for the MAN Booker Prize, and has received other prizes. That Cartwright remains little known Stateside, even though his name "is frequently mentioned alongside authors [in England] like Ian McEwan, Martin Amis and Kazuo Ishiguro" (New York Times), is a cle...more
The story bends around the central character of Juju Judd, convicted felon, beloved daughter, sister, lover. Her single act of mis-guided love has diverted the lives of her father and mother, brother and sister. But not entirely. Each one has managed to make questionable decisions all on his or...more
There's an undertone of irony in the novel, which tells the story of the British Judd family who prepare themselves for the return of the prodigal daughter Juliet who had been in prison f...more
You have the eldest daughter who was the apple of her father's eyes but lands in jail for an art theft; the ne'er do well son who is engaged to a European bombshell he is vaguely in love with, and who suddenly finds himself taking on the role of the responsible one in the family; the youngest and the runt of the family who fashions herself as a punkish Bridget Jones, with nose-ring and...more
What I am not so sure of is it comes across as a little bit too clever for its own good. I still cannot tell what context the book was told in and at times who the narrator was.
The book tells the story of the Judd Family and their disappointments in life that...more
The prose is well sculpted throughout, managing to be both literary and...more
Starred Review. Cartwright's hilarious, despairing, rapier-sharp third book (Leading the Cheers) delivers a great deal of the absent titular emotion. The five members of the Judd family, reeling from a series of personal and professional blows, have each retreated into a private world. But the impending release of eldest daughter Juliet, an art historian incarcerated in an upstate New York prison for helping to sell stolen Tiffany windows, sets the plot—and the family—in...more
One of those glorious books that is character rather than plot-led, TPOH revolves around the Judd family in the weeks leading...more
I tend to agree with the reviews that appoint only 1 or 2 stars. I don't want to be too critical though because I was quite happy to pick up the book each night at bedtime, it was just that it didn't stir up any emotion. I think at least one of the individual stories...more
Ju-Ju (yes, Ju-Ju is a girl's name...only in England) is the star of the family and yet, she has committed a crime which breaks the hearts (and minds) of her family. As she returns, the prodigal daughter gathers her broken family together so they might continue on. But will anyone change in a positive way as a result of their two year trial?
This is one of those stories where you don't feel...more
Story follows a married couple and their adult children, one of whom is being released from a two-year prison term. the details don't really matter here, there is so...more
1) Cartwright alternates between the points of view of the five family members and because of this I didn't feel connected to any of them.
2) The novel is written is present tense and although there is one twist at the end (which I will not reveal here), I didn't really see why it was necessary to use present tense.
3) The dialogue for two of the younger siblings (twenty somethings), is written realistically, but this means that every other phrase contains "like...more
Possible Plot Spoiler: The author made a strong suggestion of incest between the brother and sister. No one else in the book group wanted to "go there," but why did the author write it to suggest such a possibility?
He was born in South Africa, where his father was the editor of the Rand Daily Mail newspaper, and was educated there, in the United States and at Trinity College, Oxford. Cartwright has worked in advertising and has directed documentaries, films and television commercials. He managed election broadcasts, first for the Liberal Pa...more