Bodies of water: a review by John C.

Bodies of Water

I would like to say that I am quite surprised that the author of this book is not lesbian – it so powerfully empathetic of its characters and time and place. That said, I must pay full complements for the careful structuring of the tale and the truly liquid descriptive prose (research proved that author knew the locations intimately though this does not automatically explain why they are so acute). This capability for description also stretches to the minutiae of domestic life in sight, sound and smell – all of which are beautifully evoked throughout.

The story line starts slowly with that already mentioned care in description that holds the reader long enough for the bases of the plot to begin to emerge and take hold. From then on, there is a gradual accelerating sweep to an eventual moving conclusion that makes the latter half of the novel a real page-turner.

The author also seems very young to have successfully evoked so much of the atmosphere of the early sixties and this is not only the physical world. This is a novel of a then unacceptable love between two married women from start to resolution over a period of twenty years. There must have been a temptation to heavily demonise the two husbands concerned yet, while no angels, both are presented as rounded characters with characteristics of so many men of their generation. I should know, I was there. There is a sense that the characters are trapped in a truly domestic tragedy with no real winners just opportunies for reflection and memories.

The author uses the trusty device of constantly pacing the ‘past’ story with interleaved descriptions of a journey in ‘present’ time that gradually increase in pace and brevity – all very skilfully done.

I have been privy to somewhat similar real-life story lines with men trapped under similar circumstances though I think I have rarely read of it in novelised form. I am truly grateful to have read this book and to have been given the insights it offers.

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