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Having just finished Eleanor Oliphant, I found the book a bit slow going at first but then gradually the characters took hold of me. It is a wonderful account of how different personalities cope with the challenges of life.
I doubt I would ever have read this book had it not been a book of the month for my village Book Group. It deals with Jack, a classics lecturer, who is involved in a fatal accident when a young man jumps in front of his car. The man is known to his family to be suicidal so they attach no blame to Jack but on the contrary they feel apologetic that he became involved and invite him to the funeral. Jack is divorced and though he enjoys being steeped in a solitary academic existence, he feels an attraction towards the man’s girlfriend, the Polish girl Krystyna.
In this book, which one reviewer said ‘nothing happens’, I found the history of Jack’s family compulsive reading. Krystina disappears and Jack is a suspect. His brothers’ lives are the subject of scrutiny to some extent and if you love family sagas it’s got a lot to recommend it. What I found so absorbing is the author’s attention to detail. I really felt I knew some of these people. It’s a well-written, nicely paced story and I really enjoyed it.
A rather depressing book with an open ended conclusion. I have not enjoyed this as much as Runcie' s other books. Complicated characters. More about feelings than actual story. An ambiguous relationship between Jack and Krystina frustratingly portrayed. Will they? Won't they? The book gives more questions than answers but that's perhaps what the author intended.
I bought this because I liked the way James Runcie writes his characters in the Grantchester mysteries. He has such a gift for getting inside the lives and personalities of his characters that it is like meeting a whole new world. It's so rare to find a truly gifted writer who also has a deep respect for life. I thought I would enjoy this book ; I more than just enjoyed it. I love it.
Came to this from the Grantchester books, and very glad that I did. Completely different: far more complex plotting and character development; same delicious writing and thought provoking reflections on life, the universe and everything from someone who must have been listening to his dad's sermons...
This book was not quite what I expected as I thought it was lt was going to be a mystery or a murder. It was a book about a man looking back on his life and himself after retirement. (more or less) Not an easy read but a very insightful book and showing how prejudices can be changed.