This first novel by author Jane Rusbridge caught my eye because it starts with a Glossary of Knots! I put it on the To Read pile. Then I picked it up and read the first chapter; a bad habit. Then I had to read it.
The book is stylishly written with an attention to detail which put me right back in the late 50s/early 60s of my childhood. The construction of the novel is cleverly designed to draw you in; well, it drew me in.
The opening chapter details a moment of everyday ordinariness which turns, in a split second, into a moment of nightmarish, life-changing horror. That tiny fraction of time when a life changes for ever.
The book is composed in five parts. In the first part, apparently unconnected stories of different people in differing times and places are laid down. The second and third parts find these stories touching, crossing, connecting and becoming clearer. In the fourth part of the book, the beauty of the pattern of this story has emerged and in the final part all strands are joined in a satisfying and interesting way. Rather like the tying of a complex knot I guess.
I particularly enjoyed the chapters written from the perspective of a nine year old boy, reminding me of Dirk Bogardes wonderful 'Great Meadow'. How might you feel when faced with a plate of Spam, lumpy mashed potato and beetroot? Yuk!
Very British, pleasingly understated and written in an entertaining style, the book touches on issues of interpersonal relationships, obsession, social taboos even the borderline-autism of the male mind.
I was left with a slight regret when I finished the book and feel a little jealous of those who haven't yet read it. That's how I usually feel when I finish a great book.
Thus, five stars.