I was a bit wary of the book when I started it. About half way though I found that I was really really enjoying it. Towards the end I had retreated to my state of wariness, and upon completion I was filled with the sentiment that can only be described as “frustration.”
The book is about a Nigerian refugee in England. The book is about an English woman having a mid life crisis. The book is about loss, both the tangible loss of family and fingers and the intangible such as sense of self and pride. The book is about how we sometimes cling to illusions of safety, of innocence, or, in the case of the four year old lynch pin, our Batman costume.
The prose is well crafted, the narration is sometimes clunky but well intentioned, and the plot mechanics work until they simply don’t. But that, I have been told, is life. We don’t always get a Hollywood ending and in truth looking for one from this novel would be a colossal mistake.
The best parts about this novel were the two voices that wove together a complex story. Cleave shines in his ability to create such dynamic and believable characters. Like real people, they are flawed but they are also beautiful in their own ways. They are not soon forgotten.
I would recommend this book for the poetic of mind and the soft of heart. Weaving together dark comedy and universal truths, Cleave has created a story that is defiantly worth reading.