On the last sunny day before
the day this world comes to its end, the family visited Monte Carlo
together-that is, all the family who managed to come to Nice for
the reunion. Monaco was an appropriate place for the occasion, though
at the time, of course, no one knew that it was quite such an occasion.
Still, a soupçon of apocalypse was there. After all, it was the
only time they'd all be in Monaco. Chaim and Sophie might not have
thought that much-Monte Carlo was only a short bus ride from Nice
and they could have gone again at any time. But the others had come
a great distance, and for them it was now or never. Perhaps even
for Chaim and Sophie, who were getting on in years, growing too
old for vain journeys. The South Africans were also getting on in
years, and not likely to travel so far again. Certainly they would
never all be together as they were on that day. The young Americans
might not have thought it particularly important to be together
(though one couldn't altogether tell-the husband seemed to care
for the family, though it was his wife's side), but the others knew
that life wasn't going to offer much more (and perhaps the Americans
guessed it too). So there was a touch of mistrust of each other
in the day's dealings, as though all feared the others would spoil
But in spite
of the day's familial mishaps they showed the child what one might
call a real palace not altogether incompatible with those he saw
on television, crowning its mountain over the Mediterranean, and
they photographed the changing of the guard.
were hints already that the world was coming to an end, the family
weren't keeping up with the papers. They were on vacation. It was
hardly likely even if they'd read the day's news that they'd have
noticed anything imminent; the four horsemen had been galloping
about so long the sound of their hooves seemed as natural as cars.
Only when more messages started coming in, the sheep in Utah, and
monsters born in defoliated zones, vials of botulism and 2, 4, 5-T,
when the sea became as the blood of a dead man and every living
soul died in the sea and the third angel poured out his vial upon
the rivers and fountains of waters and they became as blood, then
the American couple, younger than the others, and living perhaps
nearer to the source of the trouble in Cambridge Mass 02138, started
to feel uneasy and attended to the television when it told them
that the great city was divided into three parts (Rev. XVI, xlx,
not cited by the media). Then the day before, that last sunny day,
in the postcard principality when the family (more or less) had
been together, fixed in their memories with nostalgia as of a lost
world and a golden age.
listed for National Book Award.
"The Family Reunion is surely one of the most notable novels yet written by a South African, and how magisterially she goes to work in it. In her structuring and style one must recognize one of Joyce's heirs, something even Nabokov could be proud of. She manages to be lively too – plastic, moving and a virtuoso."
"Rose Moss's achievement is in giving words to action, making it enter living history."
WORLD LITERATURE TODAY
"There is little that makes pleasant reading in this unusual, unique, and unflawed first novel....It's saga is brilliantly written and executed."
Sigmund Lavine, WORCESTER
September 22, 1974
and compelling tale..."
May 30, 1974
eschatalogical novel...we are treated top Joycean days and Jamesian prose..."
June 30, 1974
"...a work of
exceptional brilliance and sensitivity..."
March 12, 1975
has a fine mastery over her prose, is witty as well as scholarly, and
unobtrusively compassionate as well as mercilessly accurate..."
RAND DAILY MAIL
the novel provides is that of following a literary tour de force..."
Thomas Vogler, WELLESLEY
characterization assumes added profundity..."