Top positive review
5 people found this helpful
unsettling but highly insightful
on 25 January 2009
When you read any work of fiction by a well known public figure you have to work a little harder on the 'suspension of disbelief'. I found the first few chapters, particularly the introduction of the sex scenes quite difficult to read for this reason. It felt a bit like being at school and reading an erotic passage written by your English teacher. It is a credit to Bragg's skill that I was soon able to forget such associations and became compelled by the drama he skilfully creates. A few things didn't quite work for me. I found the shifting narrative perspectives a little disorientating. There are effectively three voices contained inside one and it is sometimes difficult to work out whether we are reading a letter written in the present or if it is part of the broader letter which makes up the book. That aside Bragg's depiction of a middle-aged man, plodding routinely through his life and then suddenly, shatteringly awoken as if from a dream, by a young, vibrant woman is wonderfully constructed and developed. His hero (or anti-hero) is entirely believable, you feel every contrasting emotion with him and the object of his affections, Bernadette, is one of the most striking, life-affirming characters I have encountered for some time. I would thoroughly recommend this book to anyone who has ever experienced the pleasure, both physical and emotional and the accompanying pain, of love.