Synopsis: ‘What I want you to have, Imogen, above all, is a sense of your own history; a sense of where you come from, and of the forces that made you.’ Rosamund lies dying in her remote Shropshire home. But before she does so, she has one last task: to put on tape not just her own story but the story of the young blind girl, her cousin’s granddaughter, who turned up mysteriously at her party all those years ago. This is a story of generations, of the relationships within a family – and of what goes to make a child. Called “the best English novelist of his generation” by Nick Hornby, Jonathan Coe extends his range in this magnificent account of a Shropshire family in the last half of the twentieth century. (synopsis from Amazon)
Review: Yet again Jonathan Coe has gripped me through his wonderfully sensitive and compelling writing. The story is told through the tapes recorded by Rosamond prior to her death. We join other characters in the book who are listening to them for the first time and when there is a break in the middle we share the characters’ impatience to continue the story. Covering three generations the story reveals events that repeat themselves suggesting that behavioural patterns have consequences for the future. This was a very quick read – it’s not a long book, it’s easy reading because it flows so well plus once you pick it up it’s impossible to put down.
Library Thing rating: *****
Other books read by same author: The Rotters’ Club *****, The Closed Circle ****, What a Carve Up ****1/2, The House of Sleep ***1/2
Reviewed by JudyB