Author : Carol Anshaw
Publisher : Penguin Publications
Year : 2012
Label : Fiction
Pages : 288
The Essence :
Read the blurb , and one might be tempted to be suspended in a dejavu – a group of drunk youngsters racing down a pedestrian – the theme sounds familiar isnt ? But if you thought this book, for that matter , had anything even slightly to do with the movie that sprang up in your mind , then you are wrong . This is not a thriller , not even a tad close . Infact , the essence of the story is focussed on the youngsters , who are pushed forward to a period shadowed by the tragic accident in every nook and corner , each crack and crevice of their life , rather than the accident and its repercussions .
To sum up the story , the book opens with a wedding ceremony – Carman and Matt are getting married . Grazing the occasion are Carmen’s siblings – Alice and Nick , Nick’s girlfriend Olivia , Matt’s sister and Alice’s girlfriend Maude . Then there is Tom , the band guy . Except Carmen and Matt , the others set out on their return trip to their respective places late night , Alice and Maude immersed in the bubble of their fresh romance and Nick and Olivia doped to an egregious extent . With the situation being such horrendous , one cant but expect a gruesome event around the corner , here a girl , all of ten being crashed against by their car. Olivia , the girl behind the wheel , quite evidently stoned , gets sentenced for the penace and the others are left free . But they find themslves embarking on a journey from then on , a journey muddled with remorse , not in a formidable manner but a subtle one . No , their life isnt seen guided by this remorse , but somehow or the other the debacle of their past draws a line separating their lives into two parts – before the incident and after .
My Take :
The cover page is undoubtedly welcoming .I am not sure how it works for others, but stumbling upon decent reviews about the book i am about to read sure piques my senses . The opening pages of the book did uncork my curiosity with dozens of remarkable reviews about the writing . The book contains a cascade of events over a time period of twenty five years knit together , with emphasis on the worth mentioning ones . Owing to this methodology , the story cruises forward fast , never rendering a dull moment . The fact that a multitude of lives are brought under scan adds to shunning even a speck of weariness that might creep in .
In the world of fiction , there are stories which drive forward unreigned single mindedly in search of the climax . Then there are yet another sector of stories which , instead of focussing on the final point , immerse the reader in details , dissecting each character and event to tiny shreds . This book effortlessly slips to the second slot and a profound one in that sense .
The attitude of Olivia post her release from the prison didnt quite entice me . She seemed to be shattered by the incident and her jail term following that in an immense manner that she turns arrogant in her approach to life and also to Nick . Her relation with Nick then on seemed almost mechanical , though they are seen enjoying each others company at times. Maybe she should have been a bit more concerned for Nick , when the situation remains that he wasnt completely freed from drug addiction . Instead , Olivia turns reticent and even leaves him high and dry at one point of time . But then , years of solitude in prison might drastically change a person’s outlook as a whole , i suppose. Nick on the other hand is compassionate and sensitive with his yearly visits to the dead girl’s mother as an act of remorse .
Alice’s character has been sketched in a commendable manner as sinking in a whirlpool of her love lives which eventually sucks out her passion . But how she stumbles onto probable girlfriends at every walk of her life , left me clueless ! Is the situation that rampant in real life ?
Carmen emerges succesfull in her family life , although she carries her share of burden in the relationship front . If to pinpoint the lives which transformed unrecoverably after the accident , that would be Nick’s and Olivia’s . The others are seen culpable , albeit moving on , at time slogging yet holding on . Maybe that could be the take home message -‘To keep fighting against the ill forces of fate ,come what may ‘ .
The book offers everything – intriguing turn of events , commendable writing , nuggets to contemplate on and ultimate rawness in narration . However never pick this one up with an aim of savouring a spell binding or nerve wrecking end to the story . There isnt any . The events , sketched seamlessly , confluence to the climax in quite a natural manner leaving no space for a suspense of any sort . However , i felt an unusul craving for more clarity of the event which marked the end of the story . Maybe that the reason why when i hark back , its the story in its entirety that fills my mind , not a mere portion of it . The USP is the whole book itself and the roller coaster of a journey it takes you through . Go read it !