‘At the Table’ – Claire Powell

A glut of recent releases feature a character face down on the cover. This one really tickled me when I saw it, but the subject matter is a lot less humorous than it might appear.

At the Table is a debut novel focusing on characters and their interactions with one another. Though major life events take place, this novel focuses primarily on the little moments that make up the mosaic of our lives.

Our focus is a family comprising Gerry and Linda and their grown-up children, Jamie and Nicole. Their lives have been marked by meals, and this focuses on a year in their lives at different moments. We start with a meal where the parents reveal they’re getting divorced and we end with a meal shared with mother and daughter who are, due to the events they’ve been through, forging a new relationship. Along the way we have celebratory meals, catch-up meals, drunken meals but our focus is always the family and their gradual discoveries about themselves and each other.

Powell paints a frank yet tender picture of people at their lowest. The events felt, on occasion, as if they were washing over me but I found myself touched by the attempts of the author to show the characters shifting and developing.

Thanks to NetGalley for giving me the chance to review this prior to publication.