Insure your car, home and valuables with iWYZE
by Mark Haddon (Random House Struik)
Most of us have elements of a “dysfunctional family”, thinking on our nearest and dearest, but, plot-wise, the cliché is beginning to pall.
Then again, perhaps I feel this way because Haddon, an astute writer, sometimes managed to worm his way into my subconscious, in this way often getting far too near to the bone (and to people I know).
Two estranged, misery-laden families, perhaps they shouldn’t holiday together … A chapter in and I am wanting to put the central characters, bogged down in this holiday home on the Welsh border, out of their agony.
The sleeve notes offer – “a novel that is funny, poignant and deeply insightful about human lives” and Haddon, with his cryptic, scattered prose, drew me in, at times. But, engaging?
Style-wise, it took me a chapter or two to work out who was who and with whom. The fragmented dialogue, in italics, no quotations marks, threw me. Are they thinking this or saying it?
A few weeks after their mother has died, Richard, a newly remarried medical consultant, has taken his estranged sister, Angela, and his and her families on a short holiday.
Bridge building is the underlying reasoning, but thrown together in an artificial atmosphere, where the good times should roll, the rot sets in.
Four adults, three teens, with raging hormones and adolescent cynicism, plus little Benjy, the only child – it’s a social time bomb waiting to explode.
Recalling how she “got stoned with mum once”, mean teen Melissa, wrestling with her part in sending a schoolfriend to near suicide, thinks on how mum told her about dad “tying her to the bed with the dressing gown cord sometimes”.
A mum of three, I have never navigated through such eye-popping moments with my children.
Then again, thank God. – Sally Scott