Reviewed by Renée Bosman, Reference Librarian for Government and Public Affairs and Reference Collection Coordinator
Three Junes is a quiet character study of the McLeod family, told at three points in time over the span of ten years. Each section stands well on its own; indeed, “Collies,” the first part of the book, won the 1999 Pirate’s Alley Faulkner Society Medal for Best Novella. Yet when read together, the stories complement each other and serve to provide multi-faceted portraits of the characters; the reader not only views Paul, the McLeod patriarch, through the lens of his own narrative, but from his son Fenno’s perspective as well.
The novel begins with Paul’s trip to Greece as a recent widower, during which he reminisces about his somewhat flawed, yet very loving, marriage to Maureen. Fenno’s story meanders between his life in New York during the time of Maureen’s illness and his homecoming to Scotland several years later, precipitated by Paul’s death. The third section studies the McLeod men from the eyes of an outsider, an acquaintance of Paul’s who also meets Fenno and one of his brothers through rather unusual circumstances. Yet rather than a too-coincidental and tidy ending, Fern’s impressions lend another dimension to the McLeod men and serve to underscore the themes of choice and ambiguity present in the lives of Glass’s very human characters.