En todas las familias se cuecen habas, sobre todo en las familias literarias.
Meet the Londons, a family in need of a friend … Gerry and Bernie London are proud parents of Tony, Sean and Ned, three wayward lads whose lives have suddenly reached crisis points: Newly divorced Tony is fantasizing about someone he really shouldn’t; prize-winning novelist Sean’s got a hot new girlfriend and a dose of writer’s block; and Ned’s just back from Australia, without the girl he took with him – or a clue what he’s going to do with his life. If that wasn’t enough for one household, the Londons also have a new lodger – a mysterious rockabilly called Gervase. Will he turn out to be a friend – or foe – to the family?
Welcome to my Planet (Where English is Sometimes Spoken) is a refreshing, hilarious, moving novel about a young woman’s search for the meaning of life–whether that’s finding a man with her name pinned to his jumper, achieving a fulfilling career or just watching TV for want of better companionship and sleeping all day. The story ostensibly revolves around Shannon turning 30, and living with her mother, but through the stories she tells the reader and her counsellor about her childhood, her boyfriends, her siblings and parents–and through the time span that darts over five years or more–the book is much more about being a twentysomething who doesn’t quite want to grow up.
Shannon lives in Minneapolis and calls her mother by her first name, Flo, and the mother-daughter interaction has a comforting and yet wry familiarity for any woman, whether living in Melbourne, Manchester or Marseilles. From the frequent phone calls when they’re not living together to Shannon not listening to fashion or hair advice when they are in the same house, the exchanges recorded here will not only make you fall off the sofa laughing but also remind you how infuriating mothers can be, however much you love them. When Shannon begins “to grow out her leg and armpit hair” Flo wants to know, in a typical motherly fashion, “…who is dictating the aesthetic of your bikini line? … Who’s controlling that?”
However, by calling her mother by her first name, Flo, and worrying about her mother’s old age and unhappiness, Shannon is trying hard to be grown up and motherly herself. It is not until near the end of the novel that her counsellor points that “every child, no matter how old, deserves to have a mother, someone who will cradle them when they need to be cradled”. Welcome to my Planet is a unique reminder of that, in an inimitable style, where the language is wholly recognisable, even if English is only “sometimes spoken”.
After 10 years abroad, Lola returns to Ireland and her family, to sort out her life. She looks back on her childhood and considers her family: her French mother, her father (terrified of his wife), her lesbian sister, her youngest sister, Belle, and her brother, JP – about to get his comeuppance.