|photo courtesy: goodreads.com|
A slice of life in contemporary society.
Sarah Moss was a new writer to me but a quick search told me of how celebrated a writer she is. I am glad to have had the chance to read this one and have bookmarked her other books too.
Moss is an academic and her book The Tidal Zone reflects that. The book cover is a very compelling and stands out. It was a pleasant surprise to find that its stark, forceful cover matched the writing inside.
The story is about a family and how it copes
with the uncertainties of an illness. However it also operates on various other levels: reflections on parenting, academia, the state of our medical services. There is also a parallel narrative about a cathedral that runs alongside the story.
- The style is very different. It doesn't force your attention but it draws you in slowly and resolutely. It forces you to keep going to find out whats going to happen next, even when it bears no traces of a thriller.
- The characters. Loved the stay at home dad - a very different sort of character. It was great to see a Dad with maternal instincts and Moss does a good job of bringing him to life.
- I loved the way relationships are portrayed here. The friction between the husband and son and the husband-wife relationship. It also paints sympathetic shades of an overworked doctor's life. As the wife of a GP, I would say the personality sketch is very impressive and spot on.
- This is written by an academic who does not bow down to the market formula of a snazzy and attention grabbing narrative. I appreciate that. I haven't read too many books about academia and although this doesn't focus completely about academia, it surely offers a perspective and made for good reading.
- It is nice to see how Moss has included her knitting hobby by attributing it to one of her characters. Love instances of how the writer's preferences seep into their characters.
- The style though good is taxing at times. Since there is not much happening in terms of plot, it can a bit meandering, wondering where is this all leading to.
- This is not a plot driven novel but more like a reflection on the times we live in. Those going in expecting some past paced action will be disappointed.
Having said that, the book has some great paragraphs. It is amazing how she captures the fear of parents and the emotional bonding they share with children.
The writing is superb and powerful. I recommend it for that reason alone.