14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
This review is from: What to Look for in Winter (Hardcover)
I haven't read any other Candia McWilliam books but was drawn to this because of the reviews. I've almost finished it and noticing that I'm reading very slowly now because I don't want it to end. It's also one of the few books I've ever resolved to re-read immediately. I've found it a truly extraordinary read. Her exquisite use of language and unbelievably original phrasing, the way she describes the indescribable...every page is gobsmacking. (If I was clever, I'd think of a word you had to look up here!). Other critics here have found 'name-dropping' a problem, but she can't help the circles she's grown up in and she clearly doesn't intend to 'name-drop', so don't let that put you off. In fact, in many ways she comes across as someone who has curiously low self-esteem, someone who struggles in her life on so many levels, so I can't help but warm to her. And as much as her language is complex and sometimes hard to read (but in a good way!), you can turn the page and find a really ordinary bit of prose and way of saying something that sits quite oddly with the rest and endears you to her, because she plainly isn't just some posh or privileged one-dimensional person who has it all sewn up, but someone who can describe base suffering in a way to make you weep. The running thread of her life as an unwilling, yet willing, spectre in her ex-husband's new relationship, is totally heartbreaking. If I could wish her a gift, I'd wish her a pair of wings to escape. How can she bear to stand on the sidelines and see his love for someone else, when she appears to still love him and regret breaking up from him? But then her eyes cannot see what her heart is grieving over. Awesome.