I picked up the novella Disquiet by Julia Leigh, somewhat by accident. I was reading the description on the book’s front flap in the bookstore when my phone rang and distracted me. When I made my way to the cashier the book was in the pile and I had paid for it before I even know if I was interested in reading it. Out of the bag when I got home and I finally read the flap copy and it sounded intriguing. A happy accident it would seem.
It’s a slim book, but there is nothing thin about the story. I found it incredible how much angst and anxiety could be written into the sparse 120 pages. Olivia, estranged from her family for years, returns to the familial estate in France with her children. She is escaping her marriage and the its secrets that she has kept for years. Her brother Marcus and his wife retreat to the home after the stillborn death of their first child. The matriarch welcomes her children and grandchildren, yes, but with the cool detachment of her generation and her standing.
What ensues as the family tries to heal the wounds of the past while reestablishing their relationships and looking toward the future will resonate with anyone who has tried to work through crises with their loved ones. Love hurts. It’s supposed to sometimes. It’s what makes the times that don’t hurt so magnificent. Disquiet has a lot of hurt within its lines. It’s the hope, though, that comes through as its characters bravely face their fears, and their family.