This was the first book I'd read by the prolific Ms Forster, and I have to confess, I didn't expect to enjoy it as much as I did. The author has a beautiful use of words that just carries you along, gradually absorbing the facts as they are presented and simultaneously empathising with the struggles of the bereaved family. To be honest, not a lot happens, but I respect that the author therefore had the sense to make this a fairly short book (200 pgs), not putting us through unnecessary verbosity.
The book is narrated by Louise, whose 18 year-old daughter, Miranda has drowned in a sailing accident. The whole family is devastated but each family member reacts differently. To my mind, Louise's reaction was the one I most related to, while her husband was driven to research parts of boats and engine mechanisms in a bid to find someone to blame. His extreme, obsessive reaction drives a wedge between himself and his family. Miranda's twin sister and their younger brother each deal with the loss individually, though I was surprised that the twin's reaction wasn't more extreme.
It is Margaret Forster's description of the emotions and psychology of loss that are the strength of the book. I loved her subtleties and perceptions:
"When Lynne left, her energy always left with her, and I collapsed again". (Pg 21)
Only the ending left me a little dissatisfied. As I had related to Louise, I felt the pressure she was under at the end, I'm not sure I'd have been so accommodating. I will say no more.