Authors sit back and wait for the reviews to flood in. The four-pager in the Times Literary Supplement just the tip of the iceberg.
Of course that doesn’t happen, particularly not with a first novel by a writer not known for fiction. So it makes the reviews you get from surprising sources all the more delightful. As I head off on holiday, I leave you with this stand-in blog – a review just published on a books website. Thank you Sandra Foy (unknown to me) and thank you to all of you who have posted reviews about Leaves on Amazon. More always welcome. http://goo.gl/1QoxZt
A review by Sandra Foy
The residents of Ophelia Street are a mixed bunch. Keith Russell lives with his wife Brenda and son David. Keith is the character that dominates the street. With his idealistic principles and his yearning for Ophelia Street to be the perfect example of a socialist society, he gives no-one an easy ride.
The Fermins; Gerald, local factory owner, and Selene, his sister. After the death of their parents twenty years previously, Gerald took it upon himself to look after Selene, although smother her might be a better word. Her life is slowly leaking away in his house of gloom.
Robert Johnson is the egotistical bully who drives fast cars and manages to get his hands on two of Gerald’s ‘possessions’.
This is a beautifully written book which is split up into the four seasons. The descriptions of the different seasons are vivid showing the street in all its different colours and the way it changed throughout the seasons.
But this is ultimately a story about the people, the residents of Ophelia Street. The characters are so well-drawn: deep and complex. We follow them into their humdrum lives, follow their sorrows, hopes, the drudgery, the hopelessness of no future – “without a future the present becomes eternal” – how true.
But the event that rocks the street is what causes change and many of the residents to re-think and maybe find themselves a future.
The cover of the book with the leaves changing colour through the seasons is really effective and the picture is repeated in black and white through the book at the start of each season and it really does make the book feel extra special.
I really loved this book and the characters have stayed with me since I finished. It has lots of different themes running through: family, memory, idealism, but the biggest one is perhaps just life.