Disclaimer:This blogpost is on Kaui Hart Hemming’s debut novel,’The descendants’.I haven’t seen the movie based on this book henceforth this post needn’t be seen as an opinion on the same starring George Clooney and directed by Alexander Payne(Foxsearchlight pics,2011)
Matt King,the land baron has his wife in a comatosed state after a boating accident.The doctors have predicted a poor prognosis and have withdrawn her of ventilatory support.Soon Matt realises that his wife has had an affair with realtor,Brian Speer and has been cheating on him all these years .The descendants is the journey of Matt King and his two daughters-Scottie,the chirpy 10 year old and the teenaged Alex,ex model and drug rehab to find Brian Speer so that he too can bid his farewell wishes to Joannie whose death is imminent.
Though ‘The descendants’ is a tragic comedy with an emotional climax,for the average Indian reader who has grown up watching desi family dramas or even Ekta Kapoor’s weepy sagas on love and infidelity,this idyllic take on emotional awakening set in Hawaii offers nothing new.But having said that, I must also admit that the book didn’t bore me either.Though nothing much really happens in the story,the humour in the narrative and the couple of immensely likeable characters(Scottie,Alex and even Matt) make up for the predictability in the story line.
The characters and the situations which Kaui Hart Hemmings has created are so lively that it’s hard to not like this book .Moreover I am also pretty much impressed with her writing style and her ability to derive humour out of the most tragic of the situations.Be it the middle aged father who tries his best to re-connect with his daughters or the boy with a troubled past(Sid),Hemming’s characters are realistic and believable. There are a couple of touching sequences in this book as well.For instance,the scene in which Matt meets Brian Speer in his house is one which leaves you with a lump in your throat.The climax though a bit predictable, is well written and doesn’t end up as a futile attempt in emotional manipulation.
The Verdict: On the whole,Kaui Hart Hemming’s ‘The Descendants’ is a good read which has got some really likeable characters in it.I am giving 3.25/5 for this book.