ONE TO WATCH OUT FOR: Lover by Anna Raverat

Review published on January 11, 2016.

Gentlemen, if you are the only man in your reading group and this book is suggested for discussion then I strongly recommend that you keep your own counsel until the rest of the group have had their say. Lover is the breakdown of the marriage between Adam and Kate seen from her perspective. I am not the first man to wonder at the workings of the female mind, but here one can be in no doubt as to the depths of despair that Kate explores.

We begin in a tiresome meeting of an international hotel chain where Kate holds an important and senior role, responsible for the ‘visitor experience’. The unraveling of the hotel chain’s fortunes will run parallel to our heroine’s story but for the moment she zones out and worries about some emails she has found on her husband’s computer.

With a determination that would be the envy of Poirot, Morse and Rebus she uncovers a deeper and deeper web of deceit. Her need to know all the details borders on the obsessive and although I haven’t been through this experience, I can’t help thinking that most men would just want to hold up their hands, plead guilty and get it over with. However, this just isn’t enough for Kate. She rings up two of the ‘other women’ only for it not to be the resolution or closure she was hoping for.

So we follow Kate’s descent into a sleepless existence where she buys increasing numbers of self help books, but appears not to have the time or inclination to read them. Gradually, normal service is resumed and I obviously can’t tell you the ending. However, Kate was a very believable character, albeit at the end of her tether; Adam was less so. Although he comes over as a caring father the rest is just him and his Ducati left to absent himself from family life when it doesn’t suit. Trish, Kate’s ladder climbing boss, is more of a villain in many ways. The cover of the proof I read had this quote from her (and was why I picked it up): “There is no such thing as a broken heart. The heart is a muscle not a vase.” Truly, the boss from hell.

As a subject, men who cheat on their wives is like throwing red meat into a reading group’s cage and if you are the only man, then remember to take a tin hat.

Guy Pringle
Personal 4
Group 5!

Lover by Anna Raverat
Picador hbk Mar 2016

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