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by Vendela Vida (Penguin Books, R210)
While I agree that authors should be well paid (a good book is not just churned out), I still think that the price of books here is ridiculous.
A small paper back costs R215; who can afford it? No wonder I have a Kindle – a very useful Mother’s Day present from my son.
To help recover from the sudden death of her husband, Peter, Yvonne, a history teacher, has left her home in the States to travel to Turkey.
She is returning to the small Turkish town of Datca where she and Peter, spent their blissful honeymoon.
Yvonne hopes that the trip, to this place where she was so happy, will, in its way, help speed her recovery from the tragedy.
The holiday is also a means to escape the well- meaning, but “difficult” attentions of those who have tried to help her recover, over the two years since Peter’s death.
Yvonne plans to spend a week in Datca and then join her twin children, Aurelia and Matthew, on a boat trip.
While Matthew is an “achiever”, Aurelia, a recovering drug addict, has taken difficult detours, mostly via rehab.
Yvonne desperately needs her week of solitude.
Undistracted, she needs to ponder life with Peter, her relationship with her children and her way ahead.
But, it’s not to be.
Staying in a hired villa in the seaside town, which now seems to have lost its former lustre, she is beset by unwanted visitors.
From an owl, in search of its lost mate and now trapped in the basement, to the cleaner, trailed by her husband and young son.
Then Ozlem makes her entrance – the lonely, estranged young wife of the villa’s owner.
Yvonne’s pursuit of seclusion seems doomed and discovering a “sex swing” contraption in one of the rooms doesn’t help her peace of mind either…
Making her second escape, to a nearby beach, Yvonne befriends Ahmet, a 10-year-old boy, who sells shells he finds to tourists.
Although they cannot speak each other’s language, an understanding blooms between the mismatched, lonely souls.
But just when the reader is lulled into a feeling that, finally, our protagonist might find the peace and understanding she seeks, a tragic twist occurs.
The denouement left me thinking: I should have seen it coming. – Sally Scott