The book description of Jenn Ashworth's third novel outlines its basic content. The Leeke family are dysfunctional to the point where they are unable to express or communicate themselves to one another or even with outside kindred. They remain distinct individuals with no one particularly dominant. The author demonstrates this in a balanced series of monologues taken by each of the five family members amplifying their imperfections and perspectives. The depth of the characters is portrayed with a skilled blend of dark humour and melancholy. The reader is sucked into the disordered and disturbed family who await missionary Gary's return from Utah, hopefully as the family saviour. He, as we find, has his own troubles to add to the others' hopes, secrets and dreams, heading them all toward dissolution.
This is an exceptional novel that gives a rare insight into a Mormon family and way of life. It is much more than that, however, presenting a narrative written with vivid, distinctive prose of extraordinary complexity. The gradual build up to the climactic reunion turns it into something of a shock with affecting poignancy. Deeply moving but also affectionately composed and very humourous. Jenn Ashworth has given us a memorable book.