I keep hoping Julie Myerson will write another book as good as 'Something might Happen' This is not it. That is not because it is difficult, challenging or bleak, all of which it is, it is because to me, in my opinion, it does not really get into that place we all long for a writer to take us. It is hard for me to describe this, but what I mean is whether its 'just' a thriller or an airport novel for the time that I am reading a book I want to be out of myself, unaware of my own present reality and enthralled.
'Then' is set in a broken and semi deserted frozen London, the great monuments to greed, the shiny towers of the City are empty, more than that cannot be said partly for spoiler reasons and partly because a lot of things are not clear. The opening sentence is as follows' Sometimes in the middle of winter, the temperature drops so low that animals bite off their own tails and small birds come falling down out of the sky.'
I love that sentence and was excited and expected something scintillating but the rest of the book does not live up to the expectations either in story or character
There is a lot about mother love as in other Myserson novels the agony of it and what lengths a mother will go to in the name of love, in this case unspeakable lengths.There are bitingly agonising description of all manner of suffering by human and animals and yet...to me it didn't work. It obviously worked for others I have read their reviews and know of their tears but to me it doesn't cut it.
There is a lot of sparse but clever prose but I felt distanced I want to be immersed in a book not constantly feeling I should admire this smart metaphor or that intricate little piece of description. The writing style is too much for the substance. I am not dismissing this novel but I would say it is of unusually narrow appeal. it seems like a laboratory experiment by the author which I hope is not repeated