Staff Shelf-Talker: Did You Ever Have a Family


June Reid’s seemingly perfect life is thrown into disarray on the morning of her daughter’s wedding when her ex-husband, daughter and partner perish in a blaze that destroys her home. June flees the town in an attempt to outrun her grief, and the story that follows is told through the recounts of her friends, neighbours and acquaintances; those who knew the deceased closely and those only casually affected by the tragedy. It is only through the untangling of these interwoven perspectives and opinions that some sense can be brought to what happened, why, and most importantly, how one can possibly start over again.

Clegg does a brilliant job at depicting the classic small holiday town through the careful selection of his narrators. By writing from the perspective of ‘invisibles’ – cleaning ladies, shop owners, motel staff, and local stoners – he brings authenticity to the setting.

Ultimately, Clegg has crafted a wonderful story of loss, healing and, ultimately, family. Clegg’s beautifully lyrical writing style adds to the novel’s impact and shows the reader the restorative power of sympathy and love.



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