Continuing with my trend of theming my vacation reads to my vacation, I picked Peter Nichols' novel The Rocks, because of its Mallorca setting. We visited Mallorca as I was in the middle of The Rocks and it was a truly magical island, a perfect world for Nichols' story.
PLOT - The Rocks begins with the mysterious death of long time local Mallorca residents, Gerald and Lulu. Former spouses, Gerald, an author and farmer and Lulu, the proprietor of a popular boutique hotel, had not spoken to each other in the decades prior to their death. Their unrelated, adult children, Luc and Aegina, come together to identify the bodies and handle their parents estates.
Luc, Lulu's son, was whisked away from his mother's bohemian lifestyle and raised by his father in France. As a child, he spent summers with his mother in Mallorca, where he played with Gerald's daughter, Aegina. Aegina and Luc created a relationship beyond the tension between their parents. Now with their parents dead, Luc and Aegina have the opportunity to refresh their relationship.
The Rocks, flashes back to reveal the story of Gerald and Lulu's failed romance that carries a secret creating repercussions for future generations.
LIKE - In contrast to its blissful setting, The Rocks is a hard hitting novel. It's filled with dark turns and painful admissions. I just never quite saw where it was heading, which kept me in suspense. In particular, there are two scenes of violence that were hard to stomach, yet absolutely key to the story. It was shocking.
There were many characters that seemed to think that they could get away with immoral behavior, behavior that resulted in direct harm towards other characters. Characters that feel they are above the law. This created an interesting dynamic between those who felt power and those who felt powerless. It was a theme that popped up throughout the story in a variety of ways, not always expected or conventional. I enjoyed that Nichols was often able to catch me off-guard.
DISLIKE - Admittedly, the story was uneven in its ability to grab my interest. The pacing was occasionally sluggish and I often caught my mind wandering. When it was dynamic, it was spot on, but there was a lot of build to those moments.
RECOMMEND - Maybe. Nichols writes beautifully and there is much to praise in The Rocks. However, in the greater scheme of favorite reads in 2015, The Rocks doesn't rate.