Review published on June 8, 2016.
This is a story of what happens to those left behind when a loved one goes missing. Kate is devastated and bewildered when her husband, Jimmy, goes to the local shop for cigarettes and fails to return. Those around her suggest he has left her but she is convinced something terrible has happened to him. How could a man walk out on his happy marriage without a word? But Jimmy is not the first person in Kate’s life to leave her without explanation. Her mother, Laura, left when she was a young child and was never heard of again. Her father became a distant alcoholic, leaving Kate’s paternal grandmother to raise her and her younger sister Jules. We see the story from three perspectives – Kate’s, Laura’s, and Una’s.
It’s a really compelling read. After a while what happened to Jimmy becomes less important to the reader than what is happening to Kate. This isn’t a crime novel where you’re trying to work out who committed what crime, it’s about the raw emotions of people who have faced this kind of loss and what brought them there. These are flawed, troubled characters but ones you can root for. I raced through the story so keen was I to discover whether Kate could overcome the hand that she’d been dealt. Her self-destructive spiral is heartbreaking as the many emotional blows she has been subjected to finally start to overwhelm her.
This is a hugely interesting novel and I would certainly recommend it. The distinct voices of the three main characters make each narrative strand as compelling as the others.
As if I were a river by Amanda Saint
Urbane Publications 978-1-910692-63-9 pbk Apr 2016
This Too Shall Pass by Milena Busquets, translated by Valerie Miles