More Harper Valley than Peyton Place, J.J. Anderson’s depiction of life in a small English village is both lovely and resplendent in her The Village: A Year in Twelve Tales. The novelty here is that the novel itself is composed of twelve stories, each interlinked in some way, culminating in one overarching rich narrative .
The village itself is characteristically full of unique and stock inhabitants. It is the history of the Marshall clan that defines the context of this book, but it is with the introduction of secondary characters and their sometimes hazardous predicaments that really excel the plot of the novel. The relationships and situations in ‘The Village’ are not, and cannot be, unrepresented at this stage of modern literature. However, it is the differing perspectives on said circumstances that allows Anderson to demonstrate her clear ability to document a fictional town’s coming of age as though it were a true story in origin.
I don’t feel it is worthy to give a play-by-play of the plot of each of the tales because the cumulative whole of the work is much more than that. The twelve tales act as character studies of humanity, regardless of the fact that the story itself is set in a sort of timeless era. Amassed, this insightful work is rich in its propensity for the hope for the success of a family dynamic that unfortunately has to undergo some of life’s less desirable events to strengthen their inherent bond.
A pleasant read.