14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
This review is from: The News Where You Are (Paperback)
A beautiful book. O'Flynn follows up the themes of her earlier What Was Lost - memory, loss, forgetting - in this story which centres on Frank, a (relatively) contented presenter on a regional news programme in the Midlands.
As he covers the same stories year after year, Frank struggles to keep alive something of his father, once Birmingham's favourite architect but whose buildings are now out of fashion and being torn down as he destroyed their Victorian predecessors.. People can only see what's on the outside - a perception shared by Phil, a former presenter on the programme, who went on to greater things but is afraid time has caught up with him.
These themes are brought together when Phil dies in a hit and run accident, and his old National Service friend, Michael, sitting on a park bench. Dipping back into the past and exploring Frank's relationship with his mother, who seemingly lives to be miserable, and Phil and Michael's past, "The News Where You Are" looks at erasure of the past - of buildings, memories, people, former lives - as both a creative and destructive force, and at memory as the counterpart to erasure. Frank's daughter Mo - who contributed some of the lighter moments in what is at times a very funny book - wants to be preserved as a fossil. Better, says, Frank, to become dust.
Of all the characters in this book - the frightened star, the desperate joke-writer, Frank's driven father - the central one is the city of Birmingham, whose constant drive to erase, recreate and forget itself acts as a metaphor for all the rest. Not a great deal actually happens, at least not on the surface, but you need, as Frank is aware, to look beyond the surface.