Top critical review
Funnily enough I think I would have preferred to hear the parts that this story didn't tell rather than what it did!
on 12 April 2014
This story takes place on a train journey taken by a middle aged woman to visit her elderly Aunt. The middle aged woman in question is Sally and her journey takes place the day after a family meal in celebration of her fiftieth birthday. Feeling a little hung over Sally is not at her best. She then has the misfortune to be joined by a beyond obnoxious passenger who plonks himself opposite her seat despite the train being virtually empty.
The story alternates between happenings on her journey and the events of the birthday dinner the previous night. I found that when the story focused on the dinner I longed to learn more about Sally's estranged husband and her four adult children. The family dynamic and the brief glimpses of the personalities of her family was really interesting. As far as the journey was concerned: as the behaviour of Sally's fellow passenger worsened but she remained steadfastly in her seat I couldn't help but think that most anyone in that situation would have switched seats pretty sharpish.
The writing is good and laced with gentle humour plus the author looks to have a wonderful knack for characterisation. But for me the story bubbling away in the background really was more interesting and I kept wistfully wishing that it had taken centre stage. The unsettling end to the story reinforced this desire.
A 3* read.