Thursday, March 24, 2011

Family Meeting

By Miles DeMott

From the book jacket:

“The Cambee family, one of the oldest and most respected families in a city known for old and respected families, is about to sell Plantation Trust, the bank that cemented their fortune and made their name a household word. Although their lives seem to have been lived in full public view, this intensely private family is rife with secrets and scandals that potentially derail the sale and redefine the family itself as they meet each other again for the first time.”

Just my opinion:

I found the concept of this book quite interesting. Here was a business that had been in the same family for generations. As the last mogul lay dying, the bank hits the market. As far as he is concerned, none of his children have any inclinations to continue the family business, so it’s time to sell it and not burden any of them with the bank. A company interested in purchasing it hires a man who is trained in family dynamics to conduct a series of personal interviews with each member in order to better understand the business and where it should go into the future.

This is a concept I’d not realized huge corporations undertook, so I’m not entirely sure if it’s fact or fiction in the real business world. However, this author came across as someone who researched this idea and brought it to the written page.

I don't know if I would classify this family as dysfunctional, but they certainly had issues that created rifts between the individual members. As Tony talks to each one, some patterns begin to emerge and secrets come to the surface.

Because this book is all about delving into their personalities, the characters are well-defined and the reader gets to know them on a level not found in many books. This novel is well-written and full of fascinating twists. It’s a psychological study of people, family structure and big business – all rolled into 271 pages! I wish this debut author all the best with his book. He did an excellent job and I’m looking forward to seeing what the future holds for him.

Some favorite passages from the book:

All my people done gone to their reward. But they was a handful while they was here, though, the whole lot of them.

Funny thing about war. … It all seems like such a good idea at the time, fighting for God and country, for honor and civility, at least as we define those things.

It’s all about the authenticity, sonny boy. … Living life deliberately, as Thoreau was fond of saying. Life as a tactile experience, embracing the rough edges that our culture tends to groom away in pursuit of homogeneity.

Some of us still believe in Santa Claus and prefer it that way.

Know about it? Princess, it was his idea. Once he realized you two were damaged goods in the old man’s eyes, and that was his fault more or less, the nameless hippy from South Georgia set about to shift that man’s paradigm. And here we sit. Just a damn shame he didn’t live to see it. This is his moral victory.

The irony would be breathtaking if it weren’t all so desperately human.

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