Interwoven: Triburbia

As you know, I love anything New York, and I’ve had today’s book on the Reading Pile for a number of months. I was looking forward to reading Triburbia, by Karl Taro Greenfeld (Allen and Unwin), but alas it just didn’t seem to happen. No matter what I tried, it just didn’t seem to get far enough up the reading pile to get read.

One of the things that I like the most about having so many great people reading and reviewing for TBYL is that I get to try and match friends to books, and when my friend Stephanie agreed to do some reading for me, I thought that Triburbia would be just her cup of tea. Here’s what she thought of it…

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Tribeca is a well-known, ultra-cool area of Manhattan that we’ve heard lots about from the likes of Sex and The City and many movies. The name conjures up images of beautifully dressed women like Carrie or Charlotte, handsome men and to die for apartments. Triburbia shows another side to Tribeca, a side that is not always pretty or to be envied…

triburbiaWith an unflinching eye, Triburbia explores Tribeca, Manhattan, a neighbourhood synonymous with western affluence, in which an artists’ community has been overrun by the faux-bohemian haunts of those made staggeringly wealthy by the world of finance. Thrown together by circumstance, a group of fathers – a sound engineer, a sculptor, a film producer, a writer, a career criminal – meet each morning at a local cafe after the school run. 

Over the course of a single year, we learn about their dreams deferred, their secrets and mishaps, their passions and hopes, as they confront terrible truths about ambition, wealth and sex. Seen through the eyes of these men and the women with whom they share their lives, Triburbiashows that our choices and their repercussions not only define us, but irrevocably alter the lives of those we love. 

The first chapter introduces us to Mark, a sound engineer and father. Through Mark we’re introduced to a group of fathers who catch up for breakfast each day after school drop-off. With each chapter we learn more about each father, their children, wives and friends. As we learn more we begin to see how interwoven their lives are, links that sometimes even they aren’t aware of.

Karl Taro Greenfeld has written an intriguing book. As we learn more about each character we start to make connections and I found myself re-reading sections so that I was clear on who knew whom, and who they were married to or sleeping with. I found it very hard to stop reading as I wanted to find out how each family was connected and what would come next. Sometimes it was almost as if I was eavesdropping on conversations between characters that could have been sitting at a table next to me in a cafe.

“The irony of everyone supposing that Brick wasn’t the type to have an affair was that he was exactly the type. A more voluble man, a talkative fellow, would never have been able to pull this off. No one expected conversation from Brick, so he could go wordlessly from Bea to Ava, unchanging, unflinching, unmoved. The same metronomic nods as he listened, occasionally a tilt of the head or, and both women love this, he would open those blank, big eyes even wider, like he was redoubling his attention.(He didn’t even know he did this.) But keeping your trap shut around two woman isn’t much harder than maintaining radio silence around one.”

I highly recommend Triburbia, it was an entertaining and enjoyable book. It will keep you reading, wanting to find out about each family and how they will affect or have affected each others lives.

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If you’d like to find out more about Triburbia, by Karl Taro Greenfeld visit the Allen and Unwin website here.

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