Breaking Away is a wonderful short novel about four siblings. Garance is travelling to a family wedding with her brother Simon and his wife Carine. Later in the journey, they sister Lola joins them. Once they arrive at the wedding the three siblings decide to go off to visit their brother Vincent in Tours leaving Carine behind.
This novel is ultimately a wonderful celebration of the love and friendship between siblings. Garance, Vincent, Simon and Lola have grown up together; they have shared memories and a lifelong connection. The day of the wedding they take time out to relive the youth they had together. Garance has such intense nostalgia during this day spent with her brothers and sister, she feels like she is borrowing time and wonders how many other days there will be like this. They’re all moving in different directions, which is natural for siblings to do but still such a wrench when they’ve always been so close.
Simon’s wife Carine at first seemed quite harsh on Garance and Lola but there doesn’t seem to be a specific reason for the irritation. As the novel goes on we learn more about Simon and Lola’s very close bond and it becomes apparent that Carine feels like an outsider to this strong family unit. She seems somewhat jealous of what the four share, even though she has two children with Simon and so has her own strong connections with him that will never be broken. It was lovely to hear Simon stick up for his wife later in the novel, and for him to explain to the others how much she means to him.
The part of the novel where Garance, Simon and Lola listen to a playlist that Vincent has made for them brought a lump to my throat. So many of people, including myself, must have made mix tapes for our younger siblings It’s the shared history in all of those songs that you heard throughout your lives together, there is a bond that those outside will never quite understand or break though.
I very much enjoyed this novel, I loved how it was a meandering wander through Garance’s thoughts and feelings throughout the course of a day. And it was wonderful to see siblings so closely bonded and wanting to spend time together, I don’t think that happens enough in novels.
I rated this book 8 out of 10 and highly recommend it.
I was kindly given a copy of this book to read and review by Gallic Books via Net Galley in exchange for my honest review.
Breaking Away is out now and available from Amazon.