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Customer Review

on 26 August 2000
I bought this book on the strength of four sentences that I read at The Richmond Review's website where there is an interview with the author. They were - 'The question of why Leo wanted Kasia to see him as he was then and not as he was now did not cross Kasia's mind. The answer was obvious. The answer was just as clear as Leo's eyes were cloudy, it was as straightforward as Leo's fingers were bent. It was sitting in every crease and fold of Leo's papery skin.' Reading that passage brought a lump to my throat. Any text that has that effect at 0640 hours has to be worth pursuing. It's difficult to discuss this novel without giving too much away. It's told mainly from from the POVs of Sam, aged 25, and Leo, aged 86, both of them extraordinarily convincing considering that the author is female and still in her twenties. If her publishers have the sense to let her follow her instincts, rather than making her conform to theirs, by the time she's a fortysomething she'll have a wonderful backlist. The book also has an unusually interesting heroine and several good subsidiary characters, including a cat and someone you enjoy hating. I like to finish a story knowing more about the world than I did on page one. This book is brilliant on Antarctica. Obviously the author is spellbound by it and conveys the magic to her readers. Sam's job in an advertising agency (where the author was working when she wrote this) also made me understand why we're plagued with those ridiculous TV car ads that, if you're in the market for a car, tell you nothing you want to know and, if you aren't, make you grind your teeth at the senseless waste of money. I'm impatient to read Vivien Kelly's next book.
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