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Mainstream - The Land of Steady Habits - Ted Thompson

The Land of Steady Habits - Ted Thompson

The Land of Steady Habits
Ted Thompson
Little, Brown and Company 2014
272 pages

Author Ted Thompson's debut novel, The Land of Steady Habits is an enjoyable, easy narrative that follows what transpires in the life of 60+ Anders Hill after he initiates a divorce from his long-standing wife Helene.

The novel begins as Anders attends an annual Christmas party thrown by “their” friends.  Having been invited perhaps more out of habit than intention, he is clearly not the preferred member of the uncouple.  Prone to making mistakes and muddling on as best as he can, and naively not well versed in social convention, things run from awkward to antagonistic and turn decidedly ugly.

The Land of Steady Habits goes from present to past, eventually coming full circle, following Anders and Helene and their far from perfect family:  how the couple met and fell in love, had children, and experienced the trials, tribulations, tragedies and triumphs of a life that could be anyone's.  

A pet peeve of this reader, is when books refer to events rather than allow the reader to  experience them.  Thompson frequently utilizes that style.  That being said, punctuated by the shared intimacies of life, The Land of Steady Habits is an evolution told with care, in an easy, relaxed pace.  Real and at times raw, with its own type of drama, it becomes more enjoyable as it progresses.  The evocative characters are people you can relate to and sympathize with.  I'm sure you know some of them.

As their existence and relationships are revealed to be increasingly complex, you share their inner and undisguised pain and surges of growth.  Before you know it, The Land of Steady Habits creeps up and envelops you.  Very compelling, it is an excellent first novel.

J Curran

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