Pages - 264
Published by Black and White Publishing in August 2012
Book kindly sent by publisher for a review.
Something strange happens seconds after Calum's car crashes. A sudden change in the atmospher of the material world. In nearby Evanton the light flattens so anything unbeautiful becomes almost sinister, and the things that are pretty seem slightly surreal. A breeze arises, a chillier breeze than even this winter day warrants. It eddies in the cul de sacs of Camden Street and Livera Street and creates small whirlpools of icy dust that sting the eyes of cats and runny-nosed toddlers in their pushchairs.
When Alison Ross loses her son Calum in a car crash, her world turns upside down. In her struggle to cope, she does some strange and uncharacteristic things starting with a one-night stand with her ex-best friend, Neal and sets in motion a chain of events that will lead her on a journey she could never have imagined.
This really isn't the type of book I would normally read, but after being extremely impressed with other books published by Black and White Publishing as well as being intrigued by the blurb for this book, I was curious to read it and on reflection I'm really glad I did.
This book looks at how an unexpected major event can change your journey through life, swiftly sweeping you into a completely different destiny. Alison's son Callum, is killed instantly in a car crash, a reality that appears in the news on a daily basis. When we see these accidents occur in real life, they linger for a moment in our minds, occasionally resurfacing through out the day but they do not stay with us for long unless we know the person who has died in such a tragic way. This book closely follows the day to day lives of the people that knew Callum well - the ones most affected by his death, paying close attention to their cycle of grief until the pain begins to ebb a little from their daily existence. Through very poignant and detailed writing, you experience their grief first hand - the angry thoughts, the confusion and the severe loss in their lives will bring tears to your eyes. Each character within the book is affected differently by the passing of Callum, reflecting how in life grief affects each individual in various ways.
The characters are very real and normal; the type of people you might expect to find living next door or within your own family. They are not perfect and they don't try to be, they just aim to be human and lifelike. This book doesn't even offer a happy ending full of solutions, but it does offer reality. By the end, Alice and Neil have made choices that often confound them and make them angry but they are choices they have made together and they reflect a normal married couple in society today.
Neil was my favourite character through out the book because he never gave up on Alison. When Alison was swallowed up by grief and unable to be found, he still held a flicker of hope that she would return to him and finally love him after waiting patiently for years. He was like a gentle giant whose bear hugs calmed the tempestuous nature of Alison.
I loved the personification of the A9 - the backbone of the story, holding all the fragile characters together, while weaving throughout the plot. It could easily represent any major road within England.
The descriptions in the book are detailed and yet contemplative. The book provides a quiet, reflective and poignant look at life, which will leave you with questions concerning your own journey. A quiet little gem successfully portraying a difficult and distressing part of human nature.