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Saga of a dysfunctional family set in CAMBRIDGE MA

12th January 2023

Down To The River by Anne Whitney Pierce, saga of a dysfunctional family set in Cambridge MA in the late 1960s.

Saga of a dysfunctional family set in CAMBRIDGE MA

Down To The River is set in Cambridge MA in the late 1960s. It is a time of the Vietnam War and much disruption in society. Twin brothers from established local families, Nash and Remi, had grown up as entitled Harvard educated golden boys. They both married well and had children. Their last children, Hen (for Remi) short for Henry, and Chickie (for Nash) ‘short’ for Minerva were deemed by many to be late mistakes.

Nash and Remi jointly owned a sports shop. Times were less good than they had been and finances were not as they were. Both their houses were in need of some TLC. Their respective wives, Violet and Faye, set up their own small businesses which took up much of their time and reduced what was available for their young children. Hen and Chickie were inseparable as they grew up. Life got more chaotic as they developed into teenagers, and they began experimenting with sex, drugs, politics, and rock and roll. They became ever more inseparable as they tried to stay afloat in a world that was rapidly changing. Any sense of parenting disappeared.

Saga of a dysfunctional family set in CAMBRIDGE MADown To The River is an impressive work that attacks major issues in society. It is, though, somewhat rambling in its presentation. It feels as though it may have been put together over a number of years – perhaps at slightly different phases in the author’s life.

It is, though, a book that I found fascinating. It covers a generational switch in outlooks and behaviour. Cambridge MA is not especially important to the story, but the city is well described.

Not an easy book to read, but one that I found worth persevering with.

Tony for the TripFiction team

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