13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
Love takes people to dark places,
This review is from: The Hummingbird and the Bear (Paperback)
Sam Taylor is was raised by a single mother who marries a man who turns into a violent step-father and Sam becomes one of the many young men who are thrown out of their `family' homes by a man who usurps the role of head of householder without choosing to serve as father. After a few years of roughing it, Sam turns his life around, at least on the material level, and becomes a self-made man. It's a familiar enough story on one level - all the real life rough diamonds who polish themselves into success are examples of this story in action.
But this self-made man, with a superb standard of living, `perfect' girlfriend and every possible advantage, is unmade when he meets a woman whom we cannot resist and who can't resist him. And at this point the story becomes something darker, more complex and quite disturbing: it's about love, but also about risk and the way that risk can be a kind of compulsion. From the moment Sam and Kay meet at a wedding they are compelled towards each other, regardless of that risk. For Sam the risk is the collapse of his beautiful, but precarious lifestyle but for Kay the risks are greater: she's already married and to a powerful man - who doesn't like losing anything, least of all his wife.
As the story unfolds we see similarities between Sam and Kay - both have fracture lines in their family histories that they have concealed but which bring them together in a mutual and ultimately destructive love affair. The collapse of their fake lives is set against the collapse of the finance industry in which Sam works and where Kay's husband is a major player to create a micro/macro scenario of loss, damage and spiralling madness.
The Hummingbird and the Bear is an unusual book - written by a man about themes usually reserved for `women's literature'; part love story and part fast-moving thriller; somewhat of a moral fable but also a forensic examination of the global banking collapse, it's a rare creature - a romantic book you could give to a man to read without having to apologise for handing him a 'relationship story'. Highly recommended for intelligent readers who enjoy passionate writing.