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Lacking that special something
on 19 December 2007
This is a brilliant depiction of a family disintegrating following the death of a daughter, sadly a situation so often encountered in real life. The characters are well-drawn and convincing and the writing clear and concise. So why was I not compelled to keep reading, anxious to return to the book whenever I had put it down?
It's a difficult question to answer, but I somehow had to force myself to read to the end. Maybe because it was so obvious what was going to happen the story lost that sense of anticipation, of wondering how the author would resolve the conflicts she had presented so fluently. I have only read one other novel by Margaret Forster and again I remember that feeling of something lacking, some intangible quality that would lift the story out of the mundane. It was well-written, true to life, and dealt with a heart-rending topic, but, as with 'Over', I felt I could 'take it or leave it'. And yet I love novels without a fast-moving plot that chart feelings and how people deal with them - 'The Other Side of You' by Salley Vickers, for instance.
I know Margaret Forster's fans rate her highly, so I shall not give up on her yet and am about to start 'Keeping the World Away'. Meanwhile, I imagine her fans will not want to miss 'Over'. For me, though, it didn't quite make it.